The Michigan Engineer News Center

Beloved NAME department chair, T Francis Ogilvie, passes away

Thomas (T.) Francis Ogilvie, beloved department chair from 1974-1981, passed away on March 30, at the age of 89. | Medium Read
IMAGE:  Ogilvie, Francis R

Born in Atlantic City in 1929, Ogilvie was surrounded by ocean and boats throughout his childhood. He studies Physics at Cornell at just 16 and went on to become a physicist at the U.S. Navy’s David Taylor Model Basin in Maryland where he conducted research on the dynamic response of ship structures to explosive loading. He later moved on to study the wave dynamics of ships, submarines, and hydrofoils. The Navy recognized his important contributions with a Meritorious Public Service Award in 1955.

He went on to received his M.S.E. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. in engineering science from the University of California at Berkeley before transitioning into a career in academia.

Ogilvie was recruited to the University of Michigan 1967 by the enigmatic Professor Harry Benford to teach theoretical hydrodynamics. He acted as associate professor of naval architecture and marine engineering where he also taught fluid mechanics.

Ogilvie, well known as a vigorous innovator, was named chair in 1974. As chairman, Ogilvie made substantial improvement to the department. He was responsible for a total restructuring of the undergraduate curriculum and helped develop their graduate program.

Thanks in large part to his ability to garner donations from both industry and alumni, Ogilvie was responsible for the modernization of the department’s experimental facilities and the construction of a new building to house the department. His most visible act was to move the department physically from the West Engineering Building on the Central Campus to the North Campus, leaving behind only the model basin and associated facilities.

With strong voluntary support from alumnus Hugh Downer (’39), Ogilvie led a capital campaign to double the size of the building on North Campus. Consequently, Ogilvie was able to provide more than just an enlarged and well-furnished building. He also had funds for new computers and research facilities, and seed money for new research initiatives. The department made the move to the North campus in 1977.

In 1981 Prof. Ogilvie left Michigan to become chair of Ocean Engineering at MIT, where he remained for 12 years.

Ogilvie is survived his daughter, Nancy Ogilvie; his daughter, Beth Ogilvie, and her married partner, Susan Straghalis; and his son, Ken Ogilvie, and his wife, Sue Anderson. Donations may be made in Ogilvie’s name to the ACLU or the Alzheimer’s Association.

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