Alum Named Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering at PennState

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University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Aerospace Engineering alum Edward Smith (M.S. ’90, Ph.D. ’92) was named a Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering by Penn State's Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs­—a title given to only a limited number of professors who are leaders in their fields of research or creative activity and have demonstrated significant leadership with respect to teaching, service and research or creative activity.  

Smith, who completed his graduate work at Maryland under the advisement of Distinguished University Professor Inderjit Chopra, director of UMD’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center went on to serve as the founding director of Penn State’s national Vertical Lift Center of Excellence (VLRCOE), also known as the Rotorcraft Center, for over 27 years. In 2021, the VLRCOE received $7.5 million through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and NASA to fund it for an additional five years.  

Recognized as a national and international leader in rotorcraft research, Smith has worked on highly complex problems related to vibration and noise control as well as novel materials and structures. He and his students received best paper awards in six of the last 10 years from the Vertical Flight Society.

Smith is also known for his commitment to teaching and advising. He has taught more than 10 distinct courses in aerospace engineering, organized an annual short course in rotary wing technology and advised over 80 graduate students. He is known as a supporter of underrepresented groups in aerospace engineering, helping to recruit and mentor female and minority graduate students. 

Published March 26, 2024