iconRemembering George W. Laird

Geordie and wifeThe goal of the George W. Laird Fellowships is to single out engineering graduate students of the highest caliber, honoring the qualities and memory of my late husband, Geordie.

After Geordie completed his Master's degree at Delaware, he was invited to present his thesis to a gathering in Seattle.

I remember the speaker who introduced him describing Geordie as "a new and different kind of engineer," because he had first earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and then went on to pursue his true love—engineering.

George was an individual whose interests ranged far and wide, someone who extended his curiosity out into the world, far beyond the classroom and the laboratory.

"A new and different kind of engineer"

Before, during and after his study of Engineering at Delaware, Geordie exhibited an unfettered enthusiasm for all things mechanical - and not just the predictable. He and some friends operated a steam locomotive. He constructed a car from the ground up. He tinkered, experimented, wondered and marveled.

After his death in an automobile accident in 1977, a group of friends - encouraged and led by Ted Ashford and his wife Jane, geordie's dogsand with help from Lonnie and Dick Dobbs and Ellie and Ron Maroney—conceived of the George W. Laird Fellowships to select and honor outstanding individuals concluding their first year as graduate engineering students at Delaware.

The Laird Fellowships grew out of the tragedy of Geordie's death. It has enriched my life and my children's as well. Participating on the selection committee for the past 25 years with Geordie's good friends Ted Ashford and Randy Barton has been a continually rewarding experience. I am convinced that our group has singled out "a new and different kind of engineer," each year of the award.

As you read this 25th anniversary tribute to the Laird Fellows, I think you'll agree that, as a group and individually, the recipients, their lives and accomplishments are an on-going testament to the ideal of doing challenging work and living interesting, meaningful lives.

I hope reading this tribute inspires today's engineering graduate students to think, dream, imagine and apply unlimited curiosity to the world around them. And perhaps to seek selection as a future Laird Fellow.

Ann Laird Wick