School of Engineering Medal of Excellence 2009

The School of Engineering Medal of Excellence was established in 2006 as a means to honor the exceptional achievements of members of the Rutgers Engineering Alumni community. We are pleased to present the 2009 School of Engineering Medal of Excellence class:  Four categories: Alumnus of the Year, Alumni Lifetime Achievement, Alumni Achievement in Academia, Distinguished young Alumnus  

Alumnus of the Year   

Major General J. Scott Gration, United States Air Force, Retired (Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering 1974) is a policy advisor to President Barack Obama and presently serves as the United States Special Envoy to the Sudan. General Gration is a former fighter pilot who served as Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. Throughout his military career, his distinguished service was recognized with some of the highest honors such as the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and some fifteen other decorations. Born to missionary parents and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, General Gration is fluent in Swahili and is widely regarded as an Africa expert. In 2006, he accompanied then-Senator Barack Obama on a trip to Africa. He was CEO of the Millennium Villages, a United Nations effort to reverse poverty, hunger and disease and is a recognized expert on safe water.

Alumni Lifetime Achievement

Mark D. Lutchen (Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering 1973 and Master of Business Administration from the Rutgers Business School-Newark 1974) is currently Senior Partner and Leader of IT Effectiveness Practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Prior to that he was the Global Chief Information Officer first for Price Waterhouse and then for PricewaterhouseCoopers which resulted from the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. In that role he managed a budget of $1.5 billion and led an IT group of 2,500 people in 150 countries in successfully driving a massive strategic global IT transformation through standardization and integration of all technology platforms to support 150,000 people as a result of the merger. With nearly three decades of operating experience, he has consulted on IT management with numerous Fortune 500 companies and executives. He is the author of the best selling book, Managing IT as a Business and currently leads PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Business Risk Management Initiative, which provides senior executives practical strategies to manage IT risks and optimize IT investment and resources.

Alumni Achievement in Academia

John M. Ballato (Bachelor of Science 1993, Master of Science 1995, and Doctor of Philosophy 1997 – all in Ceramic Engineering) is Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Clemson University where he is also the Director of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET), Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and previously served as faculty representative to the Clemson University Board of Trustees. His contributions have focused on understanding the science and engineering of materials important for optical and optoelectronic applications. As part of this effort, Dr. Ballato has made significant contributions to the understanding of optical fibers and light emissive glasses and crystals. Most recently, he has led a team of scientists at Clemson in making a practical optical fiber with a silicon core. The ability to produce silicon fibers commercially would create the opportunity for more compact devices with decreased power consumption in telecommunications and beyond. Dr. Ballato has been principal investigator on over $35,000,000 worth of sponsored programs, published over 150 archival papers with over 1200 citations, holds 20 US and foreign patents, and has given over 110 invited lectures and colloquia.

Distinguished Young Alumnus

Benjamin M. Williams (Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering 2001, Juris Doctor 2008 from the Rutgers School of Law-Newark) is a Senior Manager with the Machinery & Technical Specialties and Business Valuation Groups of MR Valuation consulting, LLC. Mr. Williams is highly regarded for the excellent quality of the expert witness testimony and litigation support he provides when fair market value is a contested issue. His machinery and equipment valuation expertise is in appraising energy and utility property such as nuclear power plants, electric transmission lines, natural gas distribution pipelines and water utilities, worldwide.