Following early retirement from research development at U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh, PA in 1980, Dr. Bill Forgeng became a professor in the Metallurgical Engineering Department at Cal Poly. He taught a variety of courses, excelling in metallography and ferrous metallurgy. Besides countless valuable and practical lessons, his students remember his kind nature and endless love of good jokes and stories. Dr. Forgeng’s humor brought him closer to his students, creating indelible memories of an outstanding educator and a truly loveable man.
Forgeng Metallurgy Fund
In honor of Bill, the department created the Forgeng Metallurgy Fund. Donations to this fund carry on one of Bill’s passions: studying the microstructure of metals and alloys. Metallography typically entails preparing a specimen for analysis by grinding and polishing its surface. MATE students spend hours polishing and analyzing microstructures throughout our curriculum. Making this learning opportunity available to students, requires the use of supplies (e.g., Bakelite, polishing pads, diamond abrasives) and the upkeep of saws, polishers, and microscopes.
Dwayne Bell (Class of 1995) presented the idea of designing a plaque in memory of Bill. The plaque was hung in the Metallography Lab during the 50th anniversary weekend Open House in 2010.
Donations from alumni and other supporters help maintain necessary supplies for students and make occasional upgrades (e.g., new mounting presses and polishers) to some of the equipment in the heavily used in the lab.
Bill hung his hat on hands-on learning, so it is fitting that his wife, Maureen, and daughter, Karen, generously donated over 30 hand-forged coat hooks he made during his retirement years in Fort Vancouver (WA) to the department. The hooks are being awarded to alumni and other MATE supporters who exemplify outstanding engagement with the department.
In Spring 2016, three of Bill’s former students were the first honorees to receive Forgeng Hooks. David Taggart (Class of 1985, vice president products, IronRidge Inc.) stands with Maureen and Karen in the center photo. Scott Miner (Class of 1995, instructor of welding technology at Los Positas College) and John Simpson (Class of 1981, retired senior principal engineer at Abbott Laboratories) are pictured on the right.
Forgeng Scholarship and Photo Contest
Thanks to the generosity of the Forgeng family, the Materials Engineering Department is also able to offer the W.D. Forgeng Scholarship to students. Every Spring we also hold the Forgeng Photo Contest where students submit entries of their microscopic images. Winning photos are posted in the Metallography Lab with Bill's plaque.