Edward Smith named distinguished professor of aerospace engineering

March 5, 2024

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Edward Smith, professor of aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering, has been named a distinguished professor by Penn State's Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. 

The distinguished professor title recognizes outstanding academic contribution to the University. This special academic title is bestowed upon a limited number of professors who are leaders in their fields of research or creative activity and who have demonstrated significant leadership with respect to teaching, service and research or creative activity.  

Smith has served as founding director of Penn State’s national Vertical Lift Center of Excellence (VLRCOE), also known as the Rotorcraft Center, for over 27 years. In 2021, the VLRCOE received $7.5 million through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and NASA to fund it for an additional five years. The VLRCOE houses a full-motion base rotorcraft flight simulator in Hammond Building, allowing researchers to investigate real-time flight dynamics, controls and handling qualities.  

Recognized as a national and international leader in rotorcraft research, Smith has worked on highly complex problems related to vibration and noise control as well as novel materials and structures. He and his students received best paper awards in six of the last 10 years from the Vertical Flight Society.

Smith also is known for his commitment to teaching and advising. He has taught more than 10 distinct courses in aerospace engineering, organized an annual short course in rotary wing technology and advised over 80 graduate students. He is known as a supporter of underrepresented groups in aerospace engineering, helping to recruit and mentor female and minority graduate students. 

Twelve other faculty members were named distinguished professors for 2024, according to the University’s press release.


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College of Engineering Media Relations