Ceramist, materials engineer and university-business technology partnership expert Beth Judson and her husband, Jim, were killed Tuesday when their plane crashed north of Tupelo, Miss.
The news of her death is startling to the ceramics and materials science community who had just been meeting and catching up with Judson last week during the ACerS Annual Meeting and MS&T’10 conference in Houston.
Besides her science and engineering work, Judson was also known for her efforts on the Alfred University Board of Trustees, and with the Engineering Accreditation Commission and the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. She also had just completed her term as president of ACerS/National Institute of Ceramic Engineers.
Judson had been working for the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership, an organization of universities and businesses, sponsored by the National Academies, that seeks “to enhance the value of collaborative partnerships between university and industry in the United States.”
A biography at the UIDP website contains this biographical information:
[Prior to coming to UIDP], she was general manager for Verco Materials LLC, a Georgia Tech VentureLab company formed to commercialize technology to pressureless sinter boron carbide, a critical ceramic armor material. Beth has also worked on other Georgia Tech projects, including a manual on forming and operating research centers, and organizing a site visit for a science and technology center proposal to the National Science Foundation on biologically enabled advanced materials and micro/nano-devices. For several years she was director of industry relations for Yamacraw, a Georgia economic development initiative in the form of a multi-university broadband chip design research center. She also has over ten years of industrial experience with Alcoa Chemicals, Technical Ceramics Laboratories and Applied Ceramics, in sales, product management and research.
Dr. Judson received a B.S. in ceramic science and a B.A. in mathematics magna cum laude from Alfred University in 1982, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ceramic engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991 and 1999, respectively.
The UIDP also mentions that she was a member of the Boards of Trustees of Southern Catholic College, as well as a member of the Advisory Boards of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech and Clemson University, and the Alfred University Women’s Leadership Center.
Colleague and friend Kathleen Richardson, a professor at Clemson, notes in an email sent to me this afternoon, that, “Beth was truly an inspiration to all who worked with her — loving, giving and committed to whatever cause she was leading. She contributed greatly to all parts of our ceramic engineering profession — but perhaps has made the most impact on the many women in engineering she touched and support of their future leadership opportunities. She was a gifted woman, dedicated wife and mother and a dedicated supporter of ceramic engineering and science education.”
John Marra, another one of Judson colleagues in ACerS writes, “Beth was one of those rare individuals who could electrify a room just by walking in. She was a tireless advocate for the ceramics profession and always helped encourage students and young professionals. It is truly a sad day; the community has lost one of its brightest lights.”
UPDATE 1: The Atlanta Constitution has just published this story about the Judsons.
UPDATE 2: A vigil and visitation Service will be held Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Brigid Catholic Church, 3400 Old Alabama Rd, Johns Creek, Georgia 30022 (www.saintbrigid.org). The funeral mass will be the following day, Nov. 1 at 12:00 pm at St. Brigid, followed by a reception at Country Club of Roswell, 2500 Club Springs Drive, Roswell (www.ccroswell.com). At the family’s request, memorial donations can be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Brigid , which Jim and Beth strongly supported and embraced. The Judson family has also issued this press release (PDF).
Also, Alfred University has posted this announcement.