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UWindsor’s first dean of engineering celebrates centennial birthday

Dr. Frank A. DeMarco, his son Dan and daughter Terry react to a speech during a lab naming ceremony in Frank’s honour on May 28, 2016 in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Dr. Frank A. DeMarco, his son Dan and daughter Terry react to a speech during a lab naming ceremony in Frank’s honour on May 28, 2016 in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. Former colleagues and students, friends, UWindsor staff and members of his family donated $100,000 to the university’s engineering and science faculties in honour of Dr. DeMarco’s illustrious career.

 

Dr. Frank A. DeMarco has a lot to celebrate.

His illustrious career at the University of Windsor spans four decades and boasts notable roles — professor, researcher, coach, athletic director, first dean of engineering, and inaugural vice-president — that have earned him a legacy that few will ever be able to match.

He and his wife, Mary, have been married for nearly 73 years, raised 12 children and dote on 39 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He even has his own Wikipedia page.

And on Feb. 14, 2021, DeMarco will become a centenarian. 

“Your long and productive life is an inspiration to us all,” the university’s first graduating class of engineering wrote in a letter to DeMarco, congratulating their former mentor on the milestone.

“Our numbers were very small, only 25 in total, but we are impressed at how the Engineering Faculty has grown into a world-class organization during the past 60 years and we recognize that this is due in large part to your efforts in the initial years. We can say for certain as we look back over the many years working in our profession, that we were well prepared for this work by our engineering studies.”

DeMarco developed the science and engineering departments at Essex College and played a central role in the establishment of the University of Windsor, which was formed when the college and Assumption University merged in 1963. Under DeMarco’s leadership, the chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs were not only accredited, they churned out top-notch graduates who could compete with those from long-established schools.

“Essex College, under Dr. DeMarco’s leadership, provided the impetus for this modern university with increased emphasis on professional programs, graduate studies and research,” former professor Dr. Carl St. Pierre BASc ’61, MASc ’62, said after a lab in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation (CEI) was named in honour of DeMarco in 2016.

“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.”

In addition to his focus on creating a world-class education system, DeMarco, a former athlete, served as Essex College’s director of athletics, head football coach and coach of the freshmen and varsity basketball teams.

Throughout his career and well into retirement, DeMarco has been lauded with numerous accolades including the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, Canadian Centennial Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, Windsor’s Italian of the Year Award, 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and the University of Windsor’s Clark Award. 

The DeMarco family has supported UWindsor 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 and Energy in Action Fund and a lab naming in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Read a short biography about DeMarco written by Dr. William Miller, a retired engineering professor who worked with DeMarco in the 80s.