March 15, 2023
A celebration of the fully funded Dave Wollersheim Professorship doubled as a homecoming for Dr. Roseanna N. Zia and a reunion between the longtime professor and his protege.
On Friday, Wollersheim — a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering from 1968 to 1998 — returned to campus for the reception, where about 50 alumni and friends gathered to honor him.
“This makes me so proud,” he said, referring to the more than $1 million raised to support the endowed professorship. “I appreciate that you saw fit to make this happen. Roseanna is a former student of mine. I’ve followed her career. And I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see as the inaugural Dave Wollersheim Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.”
Zia graduated from Mizzou Engineering in 1995 and spent several years in leadership roles in the automotive industry before returning to academia. She earned a PhD at CalTech and worked at Cornell before earning tenure at Stanford.
During the reception, Zia said she’d always hoped to return to Missouri and knew the time was right when offered the professorship created in her mentor’s honor.
“Doc, I finally made my way back home to Mizzou where I belong,” she said. “Thank you for instilling in me the value of hard work and service to others. Thank you for all you have given to me and so many other Mizzou Engineers.”
The endowed professorship was established in 2017 as a way to honor Wollersheim’s devotion to teaching, dedication to the College and legacy at Mizzou Engineering. One of the first Mizzou professors to receive the prestigious Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching in the 1990s, Wollersheim invested the award funding into an engineering scholarship — Zia was one of the first recipients of the Wollersheim Scholarship.
The Dave Wollersheim Professorship in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering also aims attract and retain top faculty and support groundbreaking research, innovation and discovery.
“We said at the time that it would allow us to attract someone who could follow in Dave’s footsteps,” said Noah Manring, Dean and Ketcham Professor. “A leader with the skills to move the College of Engineering into a new era. Someone able to help solve the global challenges that we face. And I’m proud to announce that we’ve done just that … Roseanne, we are thrilled to welcome you back to Mizzou, and I look forward to your continued leadership as we enter an exciting new era of research and scholarship.”