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2018 Lackner award winners

2018 Lackner award winners

Shannon Shelton Miller February 23, 2018
Each year, the Rector’s Council honors two faculty or staff members who have, over time, made noteworthy contributions to the Catholic, Marianist character of the University. Named in honor of Brother Elmer Lackner, S.M., and Father Joseph Lackner, S.M., these honors are among the highest awards given at the University.

A love of science led Margaret Pinnell ’88, ’95 to a career in engineering. Using her skills to help others transformed that career into a vocation.

As an engineering student at UD and in her post-graduate positions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and UD Research Institute, Margaret Pinnell enjoyed the process of developing and testing composite materials as a research engineer.

In 2001, when Pinnell became a full-time professor at UD, she developed a broader interest in the intersection of engineering and community engagement after learning about the ETHOS (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-learning) program. Pinnell was involved for 10 years, and served as acting director. “It was something I was incredibly passionate about,” said Pinnell, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

“It exemplifies what UD is about, particularly the way it’s so different from other international engineering service programs. The ETHOS program isn’t about helping ‘those poor people,’ instead it’s about working with people to co-create solutions to problems. ETHOS has very Marianist roots.”


Pinnell also collaborates with other academic units and departments to expand STEM literacy in local K-12 schools, a topic on which she’s also published multiple papers during the past decade.

“I really felt like what I was doing was my vocation,” Pinnell said. “I could see how engineering made a difference in the world.”

As the University expanded its educational footprint, Paul Vanderburgh helped lead the charge while staying true to UD’s mission.

He began teaching at the University in 1995 as an assistant professor of what was then the Department of Physical Education.

Vanderburgh joined a growing department that began focusing on overall wellness, offering majors in dietetics, nutrition, exercise science and exercise physiology. From 2004-10, he served as department chair and oversaw the addition of the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program.

Vanderburgh joined the 2007 cohort of Marianist Educational Associates and later helped lead initiatives that enhanced the University’s Marianist charism. He served as co-chair for the Mission and Identity Task Force and led UD’s effort to gain a Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, a national recognition of community-engaged learning in higher education. That initiative led to the creation of the Office of Experiential Learning.

“There’s a special sauce at UD that sometimes is hard to put your finger on, but the way we approach our work, the way we interact and the opportunities that we have to really think about our mission and identity and spend time with others talking about it, that’s really a blessing,” he said.