CINCINNATI - When Jake Haseman began his aeronautical engineering studies at the University of Cincinnati, he had no idea that Neil Armstrong played such a prominent role in the program and the school.
As he began his fifth and final undergraduate year Monday, Haseman said the first man to walk on the moon, who died Saturday at age 82, has inspired him just as he has done for several generation of engineers.
"It definitely gives you a sense of reverence and a little bit of pride to be in such a nice university that had such an outstanding professor teaching here," he said.
Armstrong taught at UC for nearly a decade in the 1970s, creating courses such as aircraft design and flight navigation operations. He did it with the same humility and quiet dedication that marked his private life.
"I think with that level of fame having that level of humility is something that you don't see very often," Haseman said. "I think it very much speaks to his character that he sees others and the concepts of science ahead of himself and his personal fame."
UC has the second oldest aeronautical engineering program in the United States. It's now headed by Awatef Hamed, who began her college teaching career about the same time as Armstrong.
"He was very dutiful and did everything like the rest of us and was very low-key," she said. "We'd go out and talk and people didn't necessarily turn around and look. He was just very quiet and very easy-going and he didn't try to stand out."
However, once Armstrong got in the classroom, he drew on his vast knowledge of aviation to expand their horizons. This was a man who earned his pilot's license at age 15, who flew 78 combat missions in Korea and was a respected test pilot before becoming an astronaut and flying on Gemini and Apollo missions.
"The students were very, very excited about taking his classes," she said. "It was a beautiful opportunity for us."
Tiek Lim, Interim Dean for the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said the college is going to record interviews with faculty members who worked with Armstrong and students who took his classes in the 1970s. That oral history will become a part of Armstrong's permanent legacy for aviation and the UC aeronautical engineering program.
Lim said he hopes the material will continue to inspire engineers well into the future.
"What Neil taught us is that if you have the desire, anything is possible," he said. "I think what the students can learn from him is if you put math and science into practice, you will be able to accomplish a lot -- accomplish things that can help mankind -- that help society advance forward."
Hamed called Armstrong an "icon for humanity."
"Those of us who knew him are very fortunate," she said.
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