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The College of Engineering is mourning the loss of one of its own, Dr. William E Simon, Professor Emeritus in Mechanical Engineering.

The College of Engineering is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. William E. Simon, Professor Emeritus in Mechanical Engineering.

“What an impressive career with NASA, Lamar and the 25 years that we have had the pleasure of having Dr. Simon as one of our finest Professors in the college,” said Dean Ahmed Khattab. “We appreciate that he chose the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to finish out his career. He will be greatly missed by all who had the honor of knowing him,” continued Khattab.

Dr. Simon, an alumni and cherished member of our engineering family, graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) in 1963 and married his beloved wife Elaine that same year. The couple relocated to Houston, TX, where he embarked on a distinguished career at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, later the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Dr. Simon's contributions to the Apollo Program were significant, culminating in a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Houston in 1970. His NASA career spanned the Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle, and International Space Station programs, where he held vital roles in fuel cell and cryogenic systems development, large project management, and advanced energy conversion systems.

Retiring from NASA in 1990 after 27 years of dedicated service, Dr. Simon transitioned to academia. He served as Professor and Head of Mechanical Engineering at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, and later returned to USL (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in the same capacity from 1996-2007. Dr. Simon continued to teach and inspire students in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and senior design projects until his retirement in August 2021.

Dr. Simon's passion for teaching was evident in his engaging "NASA stories," particularly his involvement in the Apollo 13 incident, and his dedication to helping students succeed. He received numerous accolades, including the Outstanding Advisor Award.  He was a registered professional engineer in Louisiana and Texas and his professional affiliations included AIAA, ASME, and LES, where he was honored with the James M. Todd Technological Accomplishment Award in 1998 and in 2019, the Louisiana Engineering Foundation’s Engineering Faculty Professionalism Award which honors faculty members who exhibit professionalism in and out of the classroom and who serve as outstanding examples to both faculty members and students.

Dr. Simon's legacy is one of profound impact and inspiration. He will be remembered for his technical brilliance, his dedication to education, and his genuine commitment to his students and colleagues.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family during this difficult time.