ASEE member, Don Newnan, received a B.S. with honors in engineering from San Jose State University (SJSU), and a M.S. and PhD. in civil engineering/engineering economic systems from Stanford University. He also received an MBA from Stanford University. His first job was as a civil engineer for Chevron Corporation. Later, he was a First Lieutenant and Captain in the U. S. Army, and spent most of his tour of duty in Korea. Newnan began teaching at SJSU in 1959 and advanced to Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He served as Interim Dean of Engineering in 1978-79.
He was a registered civil and industrial engineer in California, and author or coauthor of more than a dozen books on engineering professional licensing. However, he is best known for Engineering Economic Analysis, an engineering economy textbook, which was the most widely adopted engineering economy textbook in its field for over 20 years. Newnan served as director of the Engineering Economy Division of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and chair of the Engineering Economy Division of ASEE. After retiring from SJSU, he served as President of Engineering Press, Inc. in San Jose, California, and Tech Publishing Corporation in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was also a director of the Bank of Commerce.
Newnan served for many years on the SJSU College of Engineering’s Promotion Committee. From that vantage point, he could see that, while their strengths varied, some faculty members were much better teachers than others. Feeling strongly that excellence in teaching may not always be given the recognition and importance that it deserves, in 2007 he donated $1 million to the SJSU College of Engineering to endow three annual excellence in teaching awards.
The establishment of this ASEE award combines his desire to encourage and recognize good teaching with his long held interest in engineering economy.