Celebrating Professor William Duff’s Contributions and Dedication

It has been more than 44 years since Professor William S. Duff first set foot onto Colorado State University’s campus. He came to the department as part of the newly established industrial engineering program, ultimately introducing and teaching 15 different industrial engineering and operations research courses.

In April, the department celebrated Professor Duff’s retirement – reminiscing over his numerous research accomplishments, prestigious recognitions, and exceptional loyalty and dedication to the department. During his time here, he has not only witnessed incredible growth and development within the mechanical engineering department, but also contributed to the program’s current success.

“I experienced the department’s progression from a divisive, but entertaining group of individuals in my first few years; later, to a very congenial and capable group of colleagues; and finally, to one of the most productive departments in the University.”

Professor Duff’s notable accomplishments include:

· Chairing the College of Engineering Systems and Optimization Committee for more than 20 years

· Patenting technology in the solar energy field during a three-year appointment as a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago Department of Physics Enrico Fermi Institute

· Managing and participating in a 13-country International Energy Agency research program that was responsible for major advances in solar thermal energy collectors and systems

· Authoring one of the decade’s best journal papers in optics

· Providing key materials research contributions to a Department of Energy Metal Oxide Semiconductor photovoltaics project

· Leading the department’s industrial engineering and operations research program since 1979

· Being the first CSU faculty member to restructure and deliver a core curriculum engineering course fully online

· Serving six years on the University Committee on Teaching and Learning where he developed and implemented the registrar’s current approach for determining Graduation with Distinction and played a key role in the implementation of our first comprehensive University Honor Code

Before CSU, Professor Duff was an industrial engineering and operations research Ph.D. student at Stanford University and a researcher at the Stanford Research Institute. Prior to that, he worked as a management trainee and industrialBill Duff engineering department analyst at U.S. Steel.

After retiring, in addition to spending more time with family and friends, Professor Duff looks forward to developing nascent hobbies, continuing some teaching, and providing solar energy consulting.

When asked what he’ll miss the most, he said, “My Ph.D. students and their research, the exceptional, intelligent, motivated and capable student, students who may not have been so gifted but were very motivated and willing to work hard to learn, working individually with many dedicated faculty and staff, and working with the current department head and some of our former exceptional department heads.”

Department Head Sue James, concluded, “It’s very hard to capture Professor Duff’s contributions to the department in just a few words. He has been the face of our Industrial Engineering and Operations Research program for several decades – educating hundreds of graduate students and making us known around the world for IEOR. He was one of the early trailblazers in distance education at CSU and has graduated more Ph.D. students at a distance than any other faculty member. His decades of loyal service and manifold contributions will live on in the department for many decades to come.”

Congratulations, and best wishes on your retirement, Professor Duff!