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On 19 May, Brian Williams, the only major TV network news anchor to report live from New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will return to address Tulane University’s class of 2007. Among the 2000 graduates listening to the NBC newsman will be a group sharing an unwanted distinction. They will be the last Tulane students to earn degrees in computer science, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering. The programs, say the administration, were jettisoned in the interest of keeping the rest of the New Orleans university afloat.

The remaining engineering disciplines--chemical and biomedical ­engineering--have been subsumed into a conglomeration being called the School of Science and Engineering. Many alumni feel the title is spurious. ”They can name the new school whatever they like,” says Michael Lockhart, a 1987 electrical engineering graduate. ”But they’re really fooling nobody. An engineering school without the most traditional core disciplines, such as mechanical, electrical, civil, and computer science, is like a business school that doesn’t offer majors in accounting, marketing, or finance.”

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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