Zorowski, Former MAE Department Head Passes Away

Dr. Carl Zorowski

Dr. Carl F. Zorowski, a former Department Head for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering passed away on Monday, April 5th, at the age of 90.

Zorowski joined NC State in 1962, bringing experience in senior design from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon) where he began his career as a graduate assistant. His hands-on approach and teaching innovations allowed graduating students a chance to gain real-world experience by designing and building prototypes. He went on to pioneer two of the most important courses that our students take today, MAE 415 (Mechanical Engineering Design I), and the capstone course, MAE 416 (Mechanical Engineering Design). 

Throughout his career, Zorowski’s innovative efforts never stopped. After his official retirement in 1997, he began working with NC State Engineering Online to develop what he referred to as a “talking textbook” — a combination of CD-ROM and Web-delivered materials that catered to continuing education and distance learning students. His teaching methods gave students the chance to find solutions to real problems by applying their engineering knowledge each semester.

Starting in 2007 and continuing through 2019, he developed an innovative summer study abroad program at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou China. The program involved faculty and students across the NC State campus as well as faculty and students in China together with industry sponsors. Many of our students have benefited from the cross-cultural design experience, and the unique cultural immersion offered by the opportunity Dr. Zorowski so passionately championed. The program format was replicated at Chalmers University in Sweden in 2014.

In addition to serving as head of the MAE department, he was also the associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering, and co-founder and director of the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering Institute (IMSEI). He was also Director of Assessment and Evaluation of the Southeastern University and College Coalition for Engineering Education (SUCCEED), as well as an international authority on mechanical component and system design and on the mechanical properties of textile fibers.

During his time with the Wolfpack, Zorowski received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award by Pi Tau Sigma and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) (1975), the R.J. Reynolds Award for Excellence by the North Carolina Engineering Foundation (1989) and the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence from the NC State University Board of Trustees (1999). He was also selected as the R.J. Reynolds Professor of Mechanical Engineering (1969) and was a Fellow of ASME (1987), Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) (1997). After retirement, he was the 2014 winner of the Jackson Rigney International Service Award from the NC State University Committee on International Programs, and the 2015 winner of the Faculty Distinguished Service Award given by the College of Engineering.

Zorowski authored more than 80 publications related to engineering, robotics, textiles, tire mechanics, and metal forming. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Outside of his academic and professional career, Zorowski enjoyed amateur motorsports and the Vintage Driver’s Club of America.


Dr. Zorowski and students at the Caterpillar facility in Suzhou China