The 2015–2016 Kent Seminar Series wrapped up another successful season in May. The lecture series featured a number of prominent figures in the transportation field, in addition to several U of I students, who had a forum to explain their research. One change this year was the addition of several TRB-style sessions, where two speakers talked for 20 minutes each, giving a more concise summary of their research. These lectures are broadcast weekly every Thursday during the academic year.
Among last season’s speakers were Anand Puppala, associate dean of research, College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington; Mark Wayne of Tensal International; Imran Hossain, assistant professor, Bradley University; Marshall Thompson, professor emeritus, UIUC; and Linbing Wang, professor, Virginia Tech.
The lecture series is a great opportunity for UIUC students and others interested in the field to extend interaction with the visitors and to gain a wide and clear perspective that goes beyond textbook material to incorporate the most pressing challenges facing the transportation industry today.
To allow for further interaction between the seminars’ invited speakers and students, ICT students organized regular “meet ‘n’ greet” sessions. The sessions, complementing the Kent Seminars, included discussions about the presentations, speakers’ research, and ways to achieve professional and academic excellence.
The Paul Fraser Kent Distinguished Lecture, initiated in 2007, honors outstanding leadership in the field of transportation engineering. Paul Kent was a 1920 graduate of the University of Illinois in Civil Engineering. As a highway contractor and materials supplier, he owned and operated two Champaign-based companies, General Paving and Builders Supply. Throughout his professional career, he expressed the highest regard and great esteem for the education in civil engineering he received at the University of Illinois. Mr. Kent dedicated himself to civic service in Illinois and surrounding states. He was the founder and president of the University of Illinois Civil Engineering Alumni Association, and was the recipient of the U of I Loyalty Award and the Civil Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award. The Kent Distinguished Lectures are sponsored by the Paul F. Kent Memorial Fund, established in 1977 to support education in transportation engineering.