Inspiration

Honoring Woodie Flowers
(1943-2019)

Dr. Woodie Flowers, Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received a B.S. from Louisiana Tech University and S.M., M.E. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. Throughout his career, Dr. Flowers emphasized and demonstrated the critical relationships between creating, learning and understanding. As a lead advocate for the value of hands-on engineering design, Dr. Flowers established a practical foundation and academic underpinning for higher education makerspaces.

Dr. Flowers’ contributions have been recognized with membership in the National Academy of Engineering, as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, and as a Distinguished Partner and member of The President’s Council at Olin College of Engineering. He helped create MIT’s renowned course “Introduction to Design.” He received national recognition in his role as host for the PBS television series Scientific American Frontiers and was awarded a New England EMMY Award for a PBS program on design. He received The Joel and Ruth Spria Outstanding Design Educator Award from ASME, a Public Service Medal from NASA, and a Doctor Honoris Causa from Andreas Bello University in Chile. He was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT for extraordinary contributions to undergraduate education. Additional honors include service as the Distinguished Advisor for FIRST, Co-Chair of the FIRST Executive Advisory Board, Inaugural Recipient of the FIRST Woodie Flowers Award, and advisor to many.

The Higher Education Makerspaces Initiatives (HEMI) is a collaborative of leading universities focused on solving the challenges of academic makerspaces and making their combined learnings available to others. Case Western Reserve University, Georgia Tech, MIT, Olin College, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and Yale University are HEMI members. HEMI is the organizing body for the International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces and the soon-to-be published International Journal for Academic Makerspaces and Making.