2002 Ragnar E. Onstad Award: Robert Lorenz

// Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Tags: alumni, Engineers' Day, ME E-Day, Robert Lorenz

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Robert D. LorenzRobert D. Lorenz
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
PhDME ’84, MSME ’70, BSME ’69

Within the past decade, Robert Lorenz has visited India, Nepal, Pakistan, Mexico, Cameroon, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Kenya, sometimes staying abroad for three weeks or more.

Such trips sound like exotic vacations, but Lorenz traveled to each locale with a medical mission in mind. For 30 years, he has played an active role in the Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF), which supports the U.S. Presbyterian Church’s worldwide medical programs with funds, equipment, medical supplies and volunteers.

In Mexico, Lorenz helped set up a dental clinic; in Africa, he helped upgrade mission hospital computers, set up E-mail and train staff to use a service that delivers up-to-date medical information monthly on CDs. And when he became president of MBF’s board of trustees in 1993, Lorenz, his wife, Sally, and others traveled to India, Pakistan and Nepal to see firsthand how the organization could assist mission hospitals there. In each case, travel was at his expense. And always, his question was, “How can I help?”

At home, Lorenz exuberantly speaks to congregations throughout the Midwest to encourage their involvement in and support of MBF. In addition to his presidency, he has held several leadership positions within the foundation, including his current status as a member of its board of trustees.

“Bob’s leadership, administrative skills and presentation and interpretation skills have inspired many individuals and audiences to support medical mission projects and MBF. His commitment to and enthusiasm for Christian ministry continue to be a great help to the cause of MBF,” says Rev. Daniel Force, MBF executive director.

Outside of MBF, Lorenz developed and led for nine years a hands-on community service program, including annual involvements in the Dane County Paint-a-Thon and Habitat for Humanity for the Lower Wisconsin River, for the Madison Horizons Rotary Club.

Lorenz received his BS, MS and PhD in mechanical engineering from UW-Madison and holds an MBA from the University of Rochester (New York) Executive Development Program. He joined the College of Engineering in 1984. He and Sally have three children: Becky, married to Derek Peterson; Carolyn; and Steve, married to Rose.