Mizzou Engineering alumni honored with 2024 Jefferson Club Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Awards return to campus 

April 29, 2024

From left, William “Bill” Baker, Praveen Edara, Dale Klein

Two of the University of Missouri’s most distinguished alumni returned to campus to connect with engineering students, faculty and their fellow alumni last week about energy and structural engineering.

Dale Klein and William “Bill” Baker were on campus to receive the 2024 Jefferson Club Golden Quill Alumni Excellence Award, one of Mizzou’s highest honors. Recipients of the award demonstrate outstanding achievement in their chosen field and reflect the university’s core values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence.

The two were celebrated at an engineering alumni reception in Lafferre Hall.

“We were excited to welcome Bill and Dale back to campus,” Praveen Edara, Interim Dean, said. “Both so that they could meet with the next generation of engineers and to share what they’ve learned as leaders in their fields. We thank them for their leadership and service to the college, the university and the engineering profession.”

Klein’s Friday morning discussion, “Is there a nuclear reactor in your future?,” was part of the college’s Huber and Helen Croft Leadership Series. He led a discussion on the status of nuclear energy in the US and around the world and on the role of small modular reactors (SMRs) for future nuclear energy plants.

Klein earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1970, a master’s degree in 1971 and a doctorate in 1977, all from Mizzou Engineering. He has been recognized with top honors such as Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Nuclear Society’s Engineer of the Year for the State of Texas.

Currently, Klein is the Reese Endowed Professor in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. From 2011 until 2022, he served as the associate vice chancellor for research for the University of Texas System and has held a multitude of titles at UT, including associate director of the Energy Institute, associate vice president for research and his current professorship.

Klein was sworn into the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2006, and was appointed chairman by President George W. Bush, serving in that role from July 2006 to May 2009. Before joining the NRC, he served as the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

Baker spoke with faculty and students on what matters in design. He discussed the importance of geometry in design, sustainable and durable design, and the relationship between engineering and architecture.

Baker earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from MU in 1975 and an honorary doctor of science in 2017. He’s a 2021 Faculty and Alumni Award recipient, a 2014 inductee into the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni (CEADA) and was the 2018 Mizzou Engineering commencement speaker.

Baker, a consulting partner at SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP), is regarded as the most important living structural engineer. His buttressed core design enabled the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which exceeds the previous record by more than 1,000 feet.

Baker has earned many prestigious awards, including the ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders Lifetime Award for Design and the Fazlur Rahman Khan Medal from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Baker was the first American to receive the Fritz Leonhardt Preis from Germany and is one of only three living Americans to receive the Gold Medal from the Institution of Structural Engineers.

“Mizzou Engineering has over 150 years of history educating students who become strong leaders,” Edara said. “We continue to advance engineering both through our outstanding faculty researchers and the accomplished alumni who become leaders across the globe.”

Learn more about how you can connect with the college and other Mizzou Engineering alumni.