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Professor Sain dies of heart attack

Madeline Buckley | Friday, September 25, 2009

Professor Michael Sain, a 40-year veteran of the Electrical Engineering Department, died Tuesday morning, according to a University news release. He was 72.

He died of a heart attack in his South Bend home, the release said.

Sain was of the University’s first chaired professors, and he has authored or co-authored about 400 publications. He specialized in statistical control theory and taught several undergraduate classes, including a course that merged theology and engineering.

Thomas Fuja, chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering said Sain was a pioneer for Engineering research at the University.

“When Mike joined Notre Dame, it was basically a teaching institution, with little or no research activity,” Fuja said. “Mike was one of the young lions who, in the 1960’s, helped put Notre Dame on the map, research-wise.”

Sain’s research has been applied to the criminal justice system in South Bend and Indianapolis as well as to the protection of structures from earthquakes and high winds.

Yet Fuja said Sain valued his undergraduate students along with his research.

“Mike was always aware of the primacy of undergraduate teaching at Notre Dame, and he did an outstanding job in the classroom, winning teaching awards at the Department, College and University level,” he said.

Sain’s course “Theology and Engineering” was popular and possibly unprecedented, the release said.

“To integrate what I believe about God with what I think and do as an engineer is the most important thing that has happened to me here at Notre Dame,” he once said of the class, according to the release.

Stain was born in St. Louis, Miss., and received degrees from St. Louis University and the University of Illinois.

A viewing will be held Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Dr., South Bend, IN.  A rosary will be held at 4 p.m., followed by words of personal remembrance.  The funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 28, at Christ the King Catholic Church, with burial at Cedar Grove cemetery following the Mass.

Charitable donations may be sent to Queen of Peace Ministries, P.O. Box 761, Notre Dame, IN 46556, or to the Women’s Care Foundation, 201 Lincolnway West, South Bend, IN  46544.