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Professor Andy Mech Creates an Educational Legacy in Song, Saving Lost Souls
January 29, 2015
Honor Alumnus: Legendary professor Andy Mech, PhD, received the Alumni Association’s Honor Alumni Award last fall. He has been a member of the mechanical engineering faculty since 1986. (Photo by Terry Miller)
Here in central Indiana is the school we know is best. Rose-Hulman,Yes, our Alma Mater far surpasses all the rest.
- Rose-Hulman, Our Alma Mater
Mechanical Engineering Professor Andy Mech, PhD, never intended to leave a legacy at Rose-Hulman, but that’s precisely what he’s done in contributing lyrics to the institute’s Alma Mater, and inspiring students to overcome obstacles and create a better world.
Mech altered and added a second verse to an alma mater written by his father, legendary choral music professor Raymond Mech for a different school. The new Rose-Hulman, Our Alma Mater, introduced in 1998, replaced the original alma mater, Sons of Rose, which had become less appropriate once Rose-Hulman had become coeducation.
Those second verse lyrics are ripe with sentiment and symbolic of the special relationship alumni have with the institute.
Rose did more than set foundation for the work that was to come. The people here became as family; Rose became another home. Though we live at quite a distance and time has passed since our farewell, Rose-Hulman you have grown yet dearer . . . our Alma Mater loved so well.
Mech sang those special words after being presented the Alumni Association’s Honor Alumni Award at the 2014 homecoming.
“The song, and second verse in particular, is meaningful to me. It gives me a tear in my eye every year when the Rose Chorus sings it at commencement,” says Mech. “I believed this place was special enough that it needed a special Alma Mater.”
Raymond Mech was a vocal music professor at nearby Indiana State University from 1969 until the mid-1980s. He directed Rose-Hulman’s student chorus in the mid-1970s.
The proud son made his campus debut in 1986 after earning master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. Concentrations on numerical heat transfer and systems simulations combined his mathematical and engineering interests.
During the next 28 years, Mech brought courses in renewable energy, utility power generation, and turbomachinery to the curriculum in hopes of providing students with skills to make a difference in society—across America and Third World countries.
“I want students to think on a global scale,” the professor says. “Engineers have an opportunity to leave a legacy. They can provide water and energy resources to remote villages. They are wasting their abilities if they’re not improving people’s lives.”
Sing her glories and her praises in every way she does excel. Rose-Hulman, you’re our Alma Mater . . . Our Alma Mater loved so well.
Mech has done his fair share of changing lives at Rose-Hulman through the legendary use of puns and humor that encourages students to overcome academic, cultural, and societal obstacles. He is renowned for always being available to students, and on occasion has called students in late evenings and weekends to make sure they understand course materials and receive sage words of support.
“I watched first-hand as my father saved a lot of lost souls as a college professor, and I share that same educational mission here,” Mech states. “I pick and lift students up because sometimes that’s all they need to keep going on this journey. We don’t make engineering an easy field to learn. I always remember that there’s a human element to this process.”
He continues, “My satisfaction comes when I see those same students receiving their diplomas at commencement. Then, I’m proud to learn about their accomplishments as alumni. If a simple joke or zany puns made that possible, then I’m gratified.”
“I pick and lift students up because sometimes that’s all they need to keep going on this journey. We don’t make engineering an easy field to learn. I always remember that there’s a human element to this process.”
- Andy Mech, PhD
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Profile: Andy Mech, PhD
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor’s Degree, Mathematics, Indiana State University, 1973
- Master’s Degree, Mathematics, University of Illinois, 1975
- Master’s Degree, Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, 1982
- Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, 1986
Courses Taught: Fluid systems, renewable energy assessment, turbomachinery, power plants, and thermodynamics
Areas of Specialization: Thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermal systems, applications of renewable energy systems, and utility power production
Research Activities: System simulation, gas Turbine/power cycle topics
Industrial Experience: U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, 1974-1978; Ralph Henneman and Associates, Consulting Engineers, 1978-1980; Cinergy, west combustion turbine fleet, June- October 2002