Max L. Williams, former Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah, passed away Sept. 18. As Dean of the College from 1965 to 1973, Williams oversaw a period of significant growth that included recruiting key faculty members, incorporating new disciplines and growing the college’s infrastructure.

“As Dean of Engineering at the U, Max Williams recruited graphics pioneer David Evans and created the Computer Science Division of Electrical Engineering. This led to what is now the School of Computing,” says Richard B. Brown, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. “He also brought in Willem Kolff, who led the Institute for Bioengineering in developing artificial organs, and Thomas Stockham, who became known as the father of digital sound.”

During his tenure as Dean, Williams oversaw the interdisciplinary Institute for Materials Research, leading to the establishment of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Phase three of the Merrill Engineering Building was also completed. Williams, who is credited as a pioneer in fracture mechanics, helped establish the fundamental science that is creating stronger materials and safer structures. This expertise led him to serve on several government technical advisory committees, ranging from health sciences to NASA and the U.S. Air Force. His scientific contributions in fracture mechanics and guidance of industry and government in technology transfer earned him election to the National Academy of Engineering.

The respected educator and engineer is survived by his wife, Mel, children, stepchildren and grandchildren.

Read more about Williams’ legacy and leadership at the College of Engineering.