Lehigh remembers late professor Richard Vinci


Richard Vinci was a materials science and engineering professor at Lehigh. Vinci passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Courtesy of Lehigh University website)

Richard Vinci, late materials science and engineering professor at Lehigh, died at 52 years old from Lou Gehrig’s disease on March 13.

Vinci was an associate professor from 2004-2006 after serving for six years as an assistant professor. He received the Lehigh University Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011, and he was given the Gilbert E. Doan Award multiple times from the respective graduating senior classes in the department of materials science and engineering. Following his death, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science changed the name of its faculty award to the Richard P. Vinci Award for Educational Excellence.

During his time at Lehigh, Vinci developed close relationships with his colleagues and students, according to a Lehigh news story. He was respected for his research on mechanical behavior and his commitment to spreading the value of education.

Vinci earned a Masters of Science and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Stanford University after studying as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He co-authored the fifth edition of “Deformation and Fracture Mechanics of Engineering Materials,” an engineering textbook, and wrote more than 90 research publications.

Though he lived with ALS for over two and a half years, Vinci had remained positive as he joined a clinical trial that experimented with treatments to slow down the progression of his disease, according to a Boston Globe article.

He is survived by his wife, Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci, a Spanish professor at Lafayette College, and his two daughters.

A memorial celebration will be held on May 1 in Packer Memorial Church at 4:30 p.m., according to an email sent out by Provost Pat Farrell on Wednesday. The email said a reception in Butz Lobby at Zoellner Arts Center will occur immediately after the memorial.

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