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Aerospace chair dies at age 50

Observer Staff Report | Thursday, March 24, 2011


John E. Renaud, professor and chair of aerospace and mechanical engineering at Notre Dame, died March 18 from cancer at his Michigan home. He was 50 years old.
A Mass of remembrance will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on April 1 in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. A reception will be held at the Morris Inn following the service.
Renaud was a native of Rochester, N.Y. After he graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1982, Renaud worked for five years as a manufacturing systems design engineer in Rochester.  He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1989 and 1992, respectively, before he joined the aerospace and mechanical engineering faculty at Notre Dame in 1992. He began serving as the chair of the department in 2008.
As a professor, Renaud taught undergraduate and graduate courses on design optimization and pursued research on fundamental design issues for aircraft, crash-absorbent structures and human bone tissue, as well as on the general mathematics associated with determining optimal designs.
As an internationally recognized expert in his discipline, Renaud was an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
During his career, Renaud served on the editorial advisory boards of Engineering Optimization and the Journal of Aircraft. He was also the associate editor of the Journal of Mechanical Design. He wrote and co-authored more than 65 articles in leading journals in his field and held two U.S. patents.
Renaud is survived by his wife, sister, his nieces and nephew, his brother and his mother. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent either to Pets Connect in South Bend, the Humane Society of St. Joseph County or the American Cancer Society.