Mourning the loss of former CBE instructor Miriam Ackley

Miriam and Ken Ackley

We recently received sad news of the passing of Miriam Ackley, a friend and former instructor of the Smith School. Miriam was introduced to the department in 1998 when she retired from teaching high school mathematics and accompanied her husband, Ken Ackley (CBE’s first Industrial Practitioner) to campus. Miriam was interested in volunteering and her initial involvement in the AEW workshops grew into work that became an integral part of our department. Her years of experience in the school system proved to be useful in preparing our undergraduate students for teaching in a course she led designed to foster successful TAs (ChemE 491 – Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Engineering). Miriam also took particular interest in helping students to prepare for life and employment after graduation by setting up individualized agendas focused on post-graduation plans beginning in the fall of their senior years. Her efforts were recognized by Professor Mike Duncan in the School’s 2000 annual report on the undergraduate program: “Although the job market was comparable to recent years, we enjoyed a notable decrease in the number of students unemployed as of graduation. I attribute this chiefly to Miriam Ackley’s involvement, helping to prepare students for interviews and encouraging them to persevere in their searches.” Miriam wore many hats and served informally as departmental ombudsman, social worker, and counselor. She and Ken both took great interest in getting to know each senior and improving the students' feelings of belonging to the department. The School officially recognized Miriam's role by appointing her as a Courtesy Lecturer in 2001, and in 2002 her contributions were recognized by the College with the Cornell Society of Engineers Achievement Award. The strongest testament to Miriam's role was the number of hugs she received at our senior dinners and diploma ceremonies. Miriam Ackley's sincere interest in the success of each student will forever be appreciated by the students she worked with, alumni, faculty, and staff of the School.

Miriam Ackley & Ingird Center, 2003

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