Although Dr. Frank A. DeMarco, a man of many hats, officially left his last UWindsor role 30 years ago, he continues to shape and propel the University of Windsor forward.
The former UWindsor professor, researcher, coach, first dean of engineering, inaugural vice president and now, professor emeritus, was honoured on May 28 at the University of Windsor by former colleagues and students, friends, UWindsor staff and members of his family, who donated $100,000 to the university’s engineering and science faculties in honour of Dr. DeMarco’s illustrious career.
“This is a man who day after day and year after year in a wide variety of circumstances provided effective leadership for this university,” Dr. Carl St. Pierre, a former UWindsor student and colleague of Dr. DeMarco’s, said after a lab in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation (CEI) was named in honour of Dr. DeMarco. “This is a man who deserves to have a research laboratory named in his honour as a permanent reminder that he was truly a founder of this great institution.”
Dr. DeMarco’s four-decade career with the University of Windsor started in 1946 when the Basilian fathers of Assumption College hired him to develop the science and engineering departments. From there, he became the college’s director of athletics, head football coach, coach of the freshmen and varsity basketball teams and first head of the chemistry department.
He went on to chair Essex College’s staff committee of department heads and when Essex College incorporated in 1954, Dr. DeMarco was made acting head of the engineering department. Under Dean DeMarco’s leadership, the chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs were accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. In 1959, when the faculty of applied science was created, he became the first dean of applied science, which he held until becoming the first vice president of the University of Windsor in 1964.
“Essex College, under Dr. DeMarco’s leadership, provided the impetus for this modern university with increased emphasis on professional programs, graduate studies and research,” Dr. St. Pierre added. “When coupled with the proud traditions of Assumption’s century of liberal arts education, a well-balanced, new and forward looking institution resulted, but rich in old and enduring traditions.”
More than 150 attendees, including family from as far as British Columbia and Ottawa, watched as Dr. Alan Wildeman, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Windsor, unveiled a dedication plaque that will hang in CEI.
“This gift will be used to support students and to support the kind of education experience that we want them to have,” Dr. Wildeman said. “Thank you to the DeMarco family for this extraordinary generosity.”
The DeMarco family has supported the University of Windsor with philanthropic gifts throughout the years, including the establishment of the DeMarco Environmental Engineering Scholarship, Mary DeMarco Visual Arts Scholarship, DeMarco Award for Scholar-Athlete, Environment & Energy in Action Fund and a naming in the Medical Education Building in honor of the late Dr. Frank G. DeMarco.
“I’m certainly grateful to attend a convocation such as this and I want to share that honour, especially with the family and my wife, Mary, who is number one,” Dr. DeMarco said at the ceremony after receiving a standing ovation. “She is the personification of creativity that lies in all the talent and work of all of our children.”
Several of DeMarco’s 12 children became engineers, including Dan DeMarco, a UWindsor alumnus.
“It was great to celebrate dad’s achievements at the University of Windsor with family and friends,” DeMarco said. “The university has been a central part of the lives of our entire family for many years and this event brought this all together for us.”
The Dr. Frank A. DeMarco Precision Wear Measurement Laboratory is located in the main atrium of CEI and is home to high calibre nano-scale characterization research.
To view photos from the ceremony, please visit the UWindsor Engineering Facebook page.
Photo right: Dr. Frank A. DeMarco embraces his daughter, Terry DeMarco, during a lab naming ceremony in his honour on May 28, 2016 at the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.