Gadomski School of Engineering Announced at Bell Tower Gala
Dick Gadomski (second from left) with his wife Flo Gadomski, son-in-law Jay Healy (MBA '11), and daughter Dr. Regina Gadomski Healy ('88)
MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University (CBU) has announced that its nationally recognized engineering school has been officially named the Gadomski School of Engineering, in honor of alumnus and benefactor Dick Gadomski, AFSC. The announcement was made by CBU President John Smarrelli Jr. at the university’s Bell Tower Gala on November 12 at the Hilton Memphis. During the announcement, Smarrelli praised Gadomski for his many years of generosity to CBU “with his time, talent and financial support” and for his “unflagging dedication to his school and his transformational gift to our current capital campaign.”
Gadomski, a native of Chicago, graduated from CBU in 1962 with a degree in engineering chemistry. After graduation, he went to work for North American Aviation in California and found himself working in the aerospace industry on Saturn second-stage boosters. “When I came out of school, I thought I knew everything,” he recalled. “When I arrived at North American Aviation, I realized I knew absolutely nothing. But I looked around at the hotshots from U.C. Berkeley, M.I.T., Rensselaer Poly, Southern Cal, all these guys I’m working around, and I’ve still got a better education.” While there, he also earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California.
During his early career, Gadomski worked for Brown Engineering, Humko, and BASF. In 1974, he founded Process Systems Inc., an engineering and construction company that grew into the PSI Group of Companies that served the food, ethanol, biodiesel, chemical and package handling industries. In 1998, it was purchased by the German firm Lurgi and the corporate name was changed to Lurgi PSI. Gadomski retired as CEO in 2001.
CBU has honored Gadomski on several occasions — as Distinguished Alumnus in 1981 and with an honorary doctorate in 2005. In 1994, in recognition of his service and generosity, the Christian Brothers made Gadomski an Affiliate of the Brothers of the Christian Schools—their highest and rarest recognition which, in effect, makes the honoree a member of the Brothers’ order (thus the AFSC designation that he may use after his name).
Aside from his steady commitment to CBU, Gadomski has also been actively involved with the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, United Way, Church of the Holy Spirit, March of Dimes, Memphis Regional Chamber, Renewable Fuels Association, Memphis Bioworks Foundation and a variety of youth sports programs. He has served three different terms on the CBU board of trustees, including a term as chairman. He is currently chairing CBU’s $70 million Faith in Progress capital campaign.
“The Gadomski School of Engineering is an honor to my family,” Gadomski told the guests at the Bell Tower Gala. “But it’s a testament to the dedication of the Christian Brothers in dealing with me. They’ve proven that you can take a D+ high school student and turn him into a C+ college student and a rocket scientist.”
Christian Brothers University established the first engineering degree program in West Tennessee in 1955. Today, the Gadomski School of Engineering offers ABET-accredited degrees in the four major engineering disciplines—chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical—plus undergraduate programs in engineering management, packaging engineering, sustainability, information management and video game design. It also offers master’s degrees in engineering management and computer information systems. As a non-research institution, the majority of classes and labs are taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty who are focused on giving students individualized attention and mentoring on a daily basis.