In memoriam: Robert O. Grondin
Robert O. Grondin, who taught electrical engineering at Arizona State University for more than 30 years and helped create the engineering program at the Polytechnic campus, passed away on July 17.
Most recently an associate professor of engineering and manufacturing on the Polytechnic campus, Grondin was widely acknowledged for his work to introduce the importance of effective pedagogy in engineering education, according to Darryl Morrell, associate professor and program chair, Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering.
“Bob Grondin had an extraordinary concern for students, especially those who struggled,” said Morrell. “This concern was expressed many times as we developed the engineering program at Poly. He was always the first to look at our decisions from the perspective of students who might be struggling or who might not be as prepared as we would like them to be. He always advocated for them, and the curriculum, policies and culture of the program were much better and student focused because he did.”
Albert L. McHenry, former vice president and executive vice provost of the Polytechnic campus, said that when he was interviewing potential faculty members, he asked what experience Grondin could bring to the Department of Engineering. McHenry said Grondin immediately replied, “I am an expert in finding solutions to the academic services problems of engineering students, whether they are systems generated, self generated or both.” When Grondin transferred to the newly created department in 2004, “he added his broad experience in engineering pedagogy, his scholarly interests in electronic circuits and the desire to be involved in the creation of a multidisciplinary engineering program,” said McHenry.
In addition to his commitment to engineering pedagogy, Grondin made great strides in research related to the physical limits of electronics, multidisciplinary engineering activities and diversity in engineering student populations. Between 1999 and 2004 he served as director of student academic services in the dean’s office of what would become the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He co-authored a book, Physics of Submicron Devices, wrote several book chapters and authored around 100 presentations and refereed journal articles.
Named a Presidential Young Investigator in 1985, Grondin was recognized as an outstanding student branch advisor by the IEEE in 1986 and shortly thereafter became a senior member of the IEEE. During the mid 1990s, he served as a member of the management team for the Foundation Coalition, one of the National Science Foundation’s engineering educational coalitions, and helped manage $3 million in NSF funds supporting activities across seven different schools and universities. He was a Lincoln Center Ethics Fellow for the Polytechnic Campus of Arizona State University.
Grondin was a Michigan native and attended the University of Michigan, where he received degrees at all levels of electrical engineering, culminating in a doctorate in 1982. He served as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Colorado State University, then joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Arizona State University in 1983.
Grondin is survived by his wife, Sonia; daughters, Marissa and Diana; grandson, Cruz; mother, Mary; and siblings, Dan, Louise, Kathy, and Pete, and their families.
Terry Grant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering