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In memoriam: Professor Brian Harper remembered as a dedicated teacher and mentor

Known for his gifted teaching skills and easygoing demeanor, Brian Harper is recognized by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering for his 35 years serving as a faculty member.

Brian HarperBrian HarperAfter earning his undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees from Texas A&M University in his home state, Harper joined The Ohio State University in 1974, where he was a faculty member until his retirement in spring 2017. He then passed away in late 2017.

Harper’s research focused primarily on viscoelasticity, however teaching was his passion. He taught undergraduate, as well as graduate courses in mechanical engineering.

“Harper was known to students and faculty as an excellent teacher,” says former Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies Dan Mendelsohn. “He was very good in the classroom, knew his subject matter incredibly well and was careful to explain things.” He recalls the praise that Harper often received from students. “He consistently had positive feedback from students about his teaching, along with good-natured comments about his laid-back, positive attitude.”

In addition to teaching, Harper served for 10 years as co-leader, then leader, of the department’s graduate teaching associate development program. In this role he oversaw orientations, training, evaluations and mentorship of the senior students in the program, who were appointed to coach their less-experienced graduate teaching associate counterparts.

Harper’s service for the university was recognized in 2009 with the department’s annual Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board.