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A significant gift from mechanical engineering alumnus Hank Schuette and his wife, Janice, established the first endowed chair in the Department of Nuclear Engineering & Radiation Health Physics in the College of Engineering.
"When I left OSU, there was no nuclear engineering department because the industry was very young," Hank said. "Because future energy demands might very well be met by nuclear power, I've always thought it was an area we should be working on, a field where we should be ahead of the curve by gaining more and more knowledge about it."
The gift, the largest ever received by the department, was given by the Schuettes in 2003. Together, they built Sherwood, Ore.-based Wellons, Inc., into an international leader in the design, manufacture, and installation of energy systems that turn waste wood from the lumber industry into electricity.
Hank Schuette received his BSME from OSU in 1950. After graduation, he took a "temporary" job with Moore Dry Kiln Co. of Oregon that lasted 21 years. He worked on design in new areas that resulted in several added major products and equipment patents. He became vice president and director of the corporation with design and manufacturing responsibilities involving four plants in the U.S. and Canada. In 1971, Schuette joined Wellons, Inc. The Schuettes' leadership allowed the company to build large facilities in Sherwood. They retired in 1994 and traveled the world. Janice Schuette passed away in 2010, followed by Hank in 2013.
"The Schuettes' vision and generosity allow us to honor one of our department's outstanding faculty members and enable us to extend our research and educational activities," said Andrew C. Klein, head of the Dept. of Nuclear Engineering & Radiation Health Physics. "Their outstanding gift helps make it possible for OSU to remain one of the top departments of nuclear engineering and radiation health physics in the U.S."
José Reyes is the first holder of the Henry W. and Janice J. Schuette Chair in Nuclear Engineering & Radiation Health Physics. Reyes' high-profile research and international reputation helped move the Schuettes to make such an important gift to the College of Engineering. In his first decade at the university, Dr. Reyes leveraged an initial $4,000 research grant into more than $13 million in additional research funding for his department.
Reyes' research is part of the reason the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at OSU is currently among the best in the nation. The Schuette Chair enables Reyes to expand his cutting-edge research and teaching that is leading to safer "passive" nuclear reactors and the use of MRI technology to track toxins in environmental cleanup and other industrial applications.
Dr. Reyes, who was appointed by the United Nations as director of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Coordinated Research Program for a six-nation study on passive nuclear energy systems, earned his master’s and PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Maryland, and his B.S. from the University of Florida. Before returning to academe, he spent ten years working with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in positions of ever increasing responsibility, including positions as Research Engineer and Project Manager for Reactor and Plant Systems Research Branch. He is the recipient of numerous professional honors, and has been an OSU faculty member since 1987. During his tenure at OSU he has won all three of the major College of Engineering faculty awards.