Melvin Arnold Wilkov, an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, taught at The University of Texas at Austin from 1964 until his death May 24, 1984. His untimely death at the age of 56 years ended an illustrious career of teaching, research, and consulting in many diverse engineering and scientific fields. Although known as an excellent teacher, he was best known outside the University community for his original work in biomedical materials and as a consultant to the legal profession on product liability problems.
Melvin was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 12, 1927. He received a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buffalo (now SUNY-Buffalo) in 1952, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the City College of New York in 1957, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1961.
Among his academic accomplishments are the following: He taught the first course at U.T. on the use of the Electron Microscope and developed an Electron Microscope laboratory for use by all engineering students. He was also a leader in the research of the use of metals with “memory” such as Nitinol for treatment of scoliosis, a spinal disorder that causes a lateral curvature of the spine. In addition, he organized the first National Congress on Product Liability in 1980, which included both the engineering and legal professions. He also introduced one of the first courses on product liability in either engineering or law schools in the U.S.
After receiving his B.A. degree he was employed as Chief Engineer for the Federal Engineering Corp. of New York City for four years. While at Penn state he was employed as an instructor form 1957-61 and as an Assistant Professor from 1961-64. He joined The University of Texas at Austin faculty in 1964 as an Associate Professor of Engineering Mechanics. While at U.T. he served extensively as an engineering consultant to both private industry and governmental agencies. Dr. Wilkov, a licensed private pilot, was a member of Tau Beta Pi (an engineering honorary society), Sigma Xi (a research society), the American Society for Testing Materials, and the Society of Air Safety Investigators. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas.
While at U.T. he supervised six M.S. theses and five Ph.D. dissertations and received more than $300, 000 in research funds from external sponsors.
William H. Cunningham, President
The University of Texas at Austin
H. Paul Kelley, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Lyle G. Clark (Chairman), J. Parker Lamb, and Lawrence R. Mack was originally published by the Office of the General Faculty and Faculty Council.