As dean of the College of Engineering (COE) from 1981 to 1999, John Bollinger presided over the creation of a familiar college landmark — the Maquina sculpture and fountain on Engineering Mall.
It was just one element of the 1993 $16 million COE expansion to Engineering Hall. Bollinger’s 18-year tenure as dean also saw many other innovations, including a renovation of the materials science building and a new freshman course that assigned a real-world engineering project from design to final product. The college also instituted several annual competitions that encourage students to invent, patent, and commercialize their own technology. After retiring as dean, he created a new course, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Bollinger served as director of the Data Acquisition and Simulation Laboratory and as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering before becoming dean. He was a Fulbright Fellow in 1962 and 1980 and coauthored two textbooks. Among his many patents, he invented a noise-quality detector for electric motors and an automated welder that helped Milwaukee’s A.O. Smith Company in manufacturing automobile frames. He founded and served as editor of the Journal of Manufacturing Systems.
He has served on the board of numerous companies, including Nicolet Instrument Corporation, Unico Incorporated, Kohler Company, and Berbee Information Systems. Bollinger is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education.
A Bascom Hill Society member, he has also generously supported the college financially. In honor of his parents, he established the UW’s Bollinger Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award. He also established several engineering student scholarships.