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University alumnus elected honorary Fellow by the Ohio Academy of Science

Peter Torvik

University alumnus Peter Torvik

Peter Torvik, a Minnesota native and alumnus who received his B.S. (Aeronautical Engineering), M.S. (Engineering Mechanics) and Ph.D. (Engineering Mechanics) at the University, was recently named an honorary Fellow by the Ohio Academy of Science.

"Election as an honorary Fellow is the highest form of recognition by peers offered by the Ohio Academy of Science," said Lynn Elfner, the Academy’s Chief Executive Officer.

The Ohio Academy of Science is a membership-based, volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization.

Dr. Torvik began his research career as an undergraduate at the University, working on Air Force sponsored studies of vibration damping in the experimental materials laboratories of University of Minnesota.  As a graduate student, he held the positions of teaching assistant, research assistant, Fellow, and Instructor. 

While a junior, Torvik married his wife, Patricia, and the couple had their first child while Dr. Torvik was a senior.

“In consequence of the outstanding financial support provided and enabled by the University of Minnesota, rather than leaving graduate school in heavy debt, I left with about $3,000 1964-sized dollars in the bank,” he said. “The support also enabled my wife, who had also been a U of M student before we were married, to be a full-time mom from before our first son was born until both were well into their school years.”

All in all, the University provided and enabled support of approximately $200,000 (in 2004 dollars), he said.

Along with than financial support, Torvik remembers the University for its demands and rigor, opportunities in employment and for intellectual advancement, and quality of faculty and education – which, he said, was “clearly superior, by any standard.”

In 1964, Torvik started as an Assistant Professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology in the Department of Mechanics of the School of Engineering.  He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1967, to Professor in 1973, and was selected to the Institute's third senior research faculty position in 1975.  He served as department head from 1980 until 1990, eventually retiring in 1996 as a full-time faculty member. He now provides consulting support in technical areas and in the development of organizations for collaborative research and education.

Among other honors and awards, he is the 2002 recipient of the John Leland Atwood award and medal jointly given by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and ASEE.  He has been elected a Fellow of the AIAA and of the Ohio Academy of Science, a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and has received Air Force Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the Air Force Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, and the USAF Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award.  His biography appears in Who's Who in Engineering and Who's Who in the Midwest.

Torvik now privately consults and enjoys living on seven hilly and wooded acres 25 miles from Dayton, Ohio.  In addition to spending time with his “pet” 1948 Ferguson tractor, Torvik fishes, hunts and continues to be interested in music – he received a bachelor of arts in Music Theory and History from Wright State University in 1980.

To learn more about the Ohio Academy of Science, please visit:

Last Modified: Wednesday, 22-Aug-2012 10:47:46 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation