Millersville University will be holding two commencement ceremonies this spring. The graduate ceremony will be held Friday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Pucillo Gymnasium for students graduating with a master’s degree and/or post-bachelor’s teacher certification. The undergraduate ceremony will be held Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. at Biemesderfer Stadium for students graduating with a baccalaureate degree.

Dr. Thomas P. Bell ’83, ’85M associate professor of industry and technology at Millersville and current president of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, will give the keynote speech, “Technological Literacy and the Need to Anticipate Change,” at Friday’s graduate commencement ceremony.

Dr. Thomas P. Bell

Bell currently serves on the board of directors for Epsilon Pi Tau, the international honor society for professionals in technology. He is also a trustee for the local Beta Phi chapter at Millersville and has held academic positions at the University of Maryland-College Park and Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

Bell graduated from Millersville with his bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education. He taught graphic arts at a high school in Cranford, N.J., before returning to Millersville to start his master’s degree, which he earned in 1985. He later earned his Ph. D. at the University of Maryland-College Park in technology education in 1992.

The keynote speaker for Saturday’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will be Dr. Hugh Herr ’90, who is considered one of the top biomechatronics researchers in the world. As a teenager, Herr was an avid rock climber. After losing both legs in a rock climbing accident at age 17, he began to focus more on his academics, receiving his bachelor’s degree in physics from Millersville, his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University.

Dr. Hugh Herr

While at MIT, as a postdoctoral fellow, Herr began working on leg prostheses and devices to mimic a human leg. He designed prosthetic legs and feet, using metal, plastic and rubber, so that he was able to continue climbing after his accident. Herr is currently an associate professor and director of the biomechatronics lab at the MIT Media Lab, where his focus is on the development of technologies that will act as extensions of body limbs that are similar in structure and dynamics.

Herr is the holder or co-holder of 14 patents including a computer-controlled artificial knee, an active ankle-foot orthosis and the world’s first powered ankle-foot prosthesis, produced by iWalk, a company using bionics to imitate the purpose of limbs to improve their function.

The computer-controlled knee was named one of TIME magazine’s Top Ten Inventions in 2004, followed by the robotic ankle-foot in 2007. He has also received the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Leadership Award and the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment.

He is also founder and chief scientific officer of iWalk. Herr first produced the PowerFoot BiOM by iWalk, which is a leg system replacing the functions of the foot, ankle and calf of the body. After much research and testing, the PowerFoot BiOM is clinically available and can replicate normal functions of a leg.

For more information on commencement, visit the Commencement website.

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