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End of an Era

This spring, the College said goodbye to four beloved professors. Charles Bray and Carl Halford, both electrical and computer engineering professors, retired after decades of service; and Michael Daley, electrical and computer engineering professor, and Steven Slack, biomedical engineering professor, passed away. Below are tributes to each of these faculty members. The College is most grateful for their years of service and dedication. They will be deeply missed by their colleagues, students and the engineering community.

If you would like to make a gift in one or more of these faculty’s memory or honor, please go to https://www.memphis.edu/development/give.php. Be sure to indicate who your gift is in honor or memory of.

Grill Master Dr. Charlie Bray at the annual Back to School Engineering Cook Out
Grill Master Dr. Charlie Bray at the annual Back to School Engineering Cook Out. Photo courtesy of John Beene (BSEE ’04).
Dr. Bray began his career with the University of Memphis on February 1, 1969 as an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering Department.  Over the next 41 years, he served as interim chair of the Electrical Engineering Department (1988 – 1991), lead the College’s student recruitment efforts as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies (1995 – 2010) and headed up numerous committees including the College’s Scholarship Committee. He is also one of the lead organizers and head chef for the annual Engineering College’s Back to School Cookout.

Dr. Bray’s former students often comment on what a profound impact Dr. Bray had on their lives. From nudging those “underachieving” students in the right direction to career guidance to working diligently to ensure worthy students with limited financial means are considered for scholarships, Dr. Bray truly dedicated his life to teaching and to his students. The College wishes Dr. Bray all the best in this new chapter in his life. Let us know when you catch the big one!

Dr. Daley, Ballard Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, died on February 8th. Dr. Daley joined the Herff College of Engineering in 1988. Throughout his 22-year career with the College, Dr. Daley was actively engaged in research to advance healthcare and improve people’s lives. His most recent work focused on modeling blood flow through the brain and alterations caused by traumatic stroke. His goal was to develop a method to continuously assess cerebrovascular pressure regulation from pressure recordings obtained from brain-injured patients in the intensive care setting. This knowledge would be critical to adapting clinical care individually to the patient, hopefully greatly improving the outcome of procedures employed.

In addition to research, Dr. Daley was passionate about sparking young people’s interest in engineering. He directed the high school regional Science Olympiad, a summer enrichment program for rising ninth graders, he was the faculty advisor for the College’s IEEE chapter, and he advised numerous graduate students. Dr. Daley is remembered by colleagues and alumni as a tremendous mentor and gifted researcher.

Dr. Carl Halford.
Dr. Carl Halford
Dr. Halford, Eugene Smith Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Director of the Center for Advanced Sensors, joined the Herff College of Engineering in 1970. He served as chair of the Electrical Engineering Department for ten years and received numerous awards during his tenure including the Alumni Association’s award in 2007 for Distinguished Research, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship, and Creative Achievement for the sciences, engineering, and math.

Dr. Halford is a prolific researcher who brought national recognition to the U of M in the field of electro-optical and infrared imaging sensor systems, and he is world-renowned in imaging sensor system performance modeling. His reputation combined with his skills as a mentor attracted many graduate students to the electrical and computer engineering department. These former students, who refer to themselves as the Memphis Mafia, attribute much of their success to Dr. Halford’s tutelage. The College thanks Dr. Halford for building an acclaimed research program in the area of sensors and wishes him all the best in his retirement!

To thank Dr. Halford for his dedication to building a research-intensive graduate program, alumni established the Carl E. Halford Fellowship. This fellowship will provide funding to an outstanding electrical and computer engineering graduate student. To make a gift to this fellowship, click here (https://www.memphis.edu/development/give.php) or contact coldenbu@memphis.edu.

Dr. Steve Slack with his Family
Dr. Steve Slack with his Family
Dr. Slack, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the Herff College of Engineering, died on April 29th. Dr. Slack joined the University of Memphis in 1990. During his tenure with the College, he advised countless graduate students and conducted research in biomaterials and tissue engineering. Dr. Slack was particularly interested in the dynamics of platelet interactions, which is important for wound healing and the treatment of thrombosis.

What stands out most about Dr. Slack’s legacy is his superb abilities in the classroom. Dr. Slack had a unique ability to boil down complex concepts into manageable pieces, and his sense of humor, clarity in instruction, and enthusiasm for the material being taught made him a favorite professor.

To celebrate Dr. Slack’s life and dedication to his students, family and friends established the Steven Slack Fellowship. This Fellowship will provide funding to an outstanding biomedical engineering graduate student. To make a gift to this fellowship, click here (https://www.memphis.edu/development/give.php) or contact coldenbu@memphis.edu.

To see photos from Dr. Bray and Halford’s retirement reception, click here.

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Last Updated: 12/4/11