Jan. 10, 2012 - Richard Figliola, who has been a member of the mechanical engineering faculty at Clemson since 1980, has been recognized by his colleagues and the Class of 1939 as one of Clemson University’s most productive. Figliola was named the recipient of the Class of 1939 Award for Excellence at a ceremony Tuesday morning at the Carillon Gardens on campus. The award, given by vote of the faculty, was established to recognize faculty members for the highest achievement of service to the student body, the university and the community. The Class of 1939 award is the highest honor given to a Clemson faculty member.
Citation presented at December, 2011 graduation on the awarding of the Class of 1939 Award for Excellence:
Richard Figliola, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, came to Clemson University in 1980 from the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Brussels, Belgium. He has served the Department of Mechanical Engineering in various capacities, including department chair, where he oversaw substantial curriculum revision leading to a remarkable accreditation review, introduced several innovative multidisciplinary activities, and had an impressive record of hiring quality young faculty. Dr. Figliola has been an outstanding mentor for many young faculty, undergraduate honors students, and graduate students. Dr. Figliola was trained as an aerodynamicist with a focus on fluid mechanics. In 2002, he stepped down as department chair to focus on developing a research program on the blood circulation of the pediatric heart with congenital defects. Today, his research program teams with colleagues at great engineering and medical schools in four countries through a prestigious Leducq Foundation (Paris, France) grant to develop blood flow modeling tools and virtual surgery tools to assist surgeons treating babies born with only one functioning ventricle. He also established himself as a consultant to the US Air Force on morphing wing strategies. Dr. Figliola is senior author of an engineering textbook, now in its fifth edition and translated into six languages. That text is the most widely adopted measurements text in the United States, where an estimated 250,000 students have studied from it. A licensed professional engineer, Dr. Figliola holds five patents, including a method to make unique metal alloy powders, a device to cool computer chips, and a novel heart valve. He has published more than 80 technical papers. In addition to his exemplary research record, he has worked with many local companies, contributing heavily to the development of several successful commercial products, including a coriolis mass flow meter and a mattress cover that helps to prevent pressure ulcers in bedridden patients. He is also an international expert on the fluid mechanics of vacuum cleaners! He is a pilot, aircraft owner and a golfer. He lives in Central with his wife, Suzanne; their daughter Elizabeth is a student at the College of Charleston.