Jul 192011
 
Authors: Jason Pohl

A long-time CSU faculty member in the College of Engineering and leader in the field of solar research passed away earlier this month after more than 40 years of service to the university and the community.

“He was tireless, energetic and creative throughout,” said Fred Smith, a colleague and friend since Winn’s arrival at CSU in 1966.

Dr. Byron Winn, 77, was born during the Great Depression. Throughout school, he became an accomplished athlete and dedicated worker –– a drive he would carry with him throughout his life.

After graduating from Hannibal High School in Hannibal, Mo., he served as a paratrooper in the Korean War. He also played baseball at the University of Illinois where he later earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

During his undergraduate studies, he also met his future wife, Donna, who would join him in 53 years of adventures throughout the country.

An avid hunter, fisher and skier, Winn was known for his adventures as well as his studies and work in the realm of academia.

Winn received his master’s and doctorate degrees at Stanford in the field of Aeronautic and Astronautics. While there, he worked for the Lockheed Missiles and Space Division and was involved in the Discoverer Satellite program.

The space research portion of his career led him to teaching in areas as far away as Australia as well as working for the French government on additional projects.

But when he returned to CSU in 1973, his focus shifted to solar technology. He was a co-founder of the university’s solar test facility –– Solar Village –– and was the founder of numerous other groups including the Waste Minimization Assessment Center and the Manufacturing Excellence Center.

To add to it all, he was the mechanical engineering department head for 12 years, and he later became the Associate Dean for Research.

“He taught courses, wrote proposals, got funding, supported graduate and undergraduate students, initiated new courses, built laboratories and undertook many activities in support of mechanical engineering at CSU,” Smith said. “A short work week for Byron was probably something like 80 hours.”

He worked and received honors until this death on July 3. In 2009, Former Mayor Doug Hutchinson deemed Oct. 20 to be Byron Winn Day in recognition of him being a “distinguished professor, a champion of energy efficiency and solar energy, an outstanding mentor for hundreds of students, a model of community service and ethical excellence and as a person who has significantly influenced development of clean energy locally and worldwide.”

Above all the awards and projects he worked on during his illustrious career and life, he was thankful for his peers and appreciative of it all.

“I thank those from whom I learned about solar energy and my many students who made it such a pleasure for me to teach,” he said after receiving the 2003 Charles Greeley Abbot Award for leadership.

Winn is survived by his wife Donna, three children and seven grandchildren.

Staff writer Jason Pohl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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