McCormick professor emeritus Herbert SuYuen Cheng dies at 92

Isabel Funk, Print Managing Editor

McCormick School of Engineering Professor Emeritus Herbert SuYuen Cheng died at age 92 on Oct. 24, McCormick announced Oct. 28. 

Cheng, who became a McCormick professor in 1968 and a professor emeritus in 2003, was known for his research in tribology and his commitment to Northwestern engineering. His scholarship established several new engineering theories, which he applied to projects like the NASA Space Shuttle program and nuclear-powered submarines.

Cheng received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan after emigrating from China in 1949. He went on to earn a master’s from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cheng was also elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1987 for his pioneering contributions to tribology and leadership in research.

“He will be long remembered by us in his academic family, and by his colleagues and people (in) the tribology community,” McCormick Prof. and Cheng’s former Ph.D. student Q. Jane Wang said in a news release. “When I shared the sad news with Professor Cheng’s previous students and associates, they said no words could describe their sadness.”

A memorial service honoring Cheng’s life will be held at Winnetka Bible Church at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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