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Former Chief Naval Architect of US Navy wins 2020 Alumni Medal

Distinguished Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering alumnus, Robin White, is honored by the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board.

She spent 30 years ensuring the safety of Navy ships and now Robin White is being honored with Michigan Engineering’s  2020 Alumni Medal  for extraordinary achievements in her field. The Alumni Medal is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni by Michigan Engineering and its alumni board.

Portrait of alumna Robin White
Robin White, 1982 NAME Alumnus and former Chief Naval Architect of the US Navy

White was the director for surface ship design and systems engineering in the Naval Sea System Command before retiring in 2019. In this position, she provided the technical leadership to ensure current and future U.S. Navy surface ships can safely and effectively perform mission requirements.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected for this recognition,” said White. “The University of Michigan and the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering provided the solid foundation that I benefited from and have been proud of throughout my career, so this is very meaningful to me.”

White joined the Naval Sea Systems Command as a naval architect in 1989. She was a key technical advisor to COMNAVSEA for numerous ship incidents and has led efforts to assess novel hull forms and provide heavy weather operator guidance for a range of ship classes.

White earned a bachelor of science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan in 1982. In addition to her accomplishments in industry, she is one of NAME’s longest-serving advisory board members.

“This recognition is a testament to her lifetime achievement in engineering. Robin has been a steadfast supporter of the department,” said Jing Sun, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Chair and Michael G Parsons Collegiate Professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. “Her service to the NAME community and profession has been exemplary. She has been an inspiring role model for us, particularly for young female students who strive to excel in our traditionally male-dominated field.”

In addition to the 2020 Alumni Medal, White has also received the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, Superior and Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, and Alumni Merit Award for Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan.

The 2020 Alumni Awards, including the Alumni Medal, Alumni Distinguished Service Award, and Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, are typically presented at an Alumni Awards Dinner on campus during Homecoming week. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the event will not be held this fall. However, the college is looking into other options for honoring awardees.