2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Farshad Fotouhi, B.S. Computer Science ‘81, M.S. Computer Science ‘82

Dr. Farshad Fotouhi is currently Dean of the College of Engineering at Wayne State University. He joined the Wayne State University Department of Computer Science faculty in 1988 after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University. He was appointed department chair at Wayne State in 2004 after serving as associate chair, and was named dean in 2011.

Farshad’s current research interests include Biomedical Informatics, Semantic Web and Multimedia Systems. He has published over 180 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. His research has been supported by NSF, NIH, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, Ford Motor Company and many other industries.  

Farshad has served as a program committee member of various conferences related to his research interests and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of IEEE Multimedia Magazine and a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Semantic Web and Information Systems. He also serves as a member of several boards of directors, including Michigan-Shenzhen Trade, Investment & Innovation Cooperation Center, the Engineering Society of Detroit and TechTown.

Favorite Bronco Memory: I have many fond memories from my years studying at WMU.  I recall spending many late night hours with my friends at the computing center working on my class projects. These activities allowed me to find lifetime friendships not only with my classmates but also with some of the Computer Science professors. 


Tim Hagenbuch, B.S. Paper Engineering ‘94

Growing up in the recycled paperboard industry, Tim Hagenbuch knew from a young age he wanted to run a paper mill.  A third-generation papermaker, today he is General Manager of WestRock’s 100% recycled paper mill in Eaton, Indiana, where he is responsible for the facility’s safety, quality, production and culture.

Tim’s career also has taken him to Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio and Georgia, and his work experience spans positions from front-line leadership to maintenance and engineering management, to production. He has earned a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and spent time as a divisional Master Black Belt supporting 11 different paper mills, driving team based- and data-based decision making to improve safety, quality, production and cost. 

In 2012, Tim joined the WMU Paper Technology Foundation (PTF) Board of Trustees, where he currently is President-Elect and chairman of the Recruitment and Scholarship Committee. He serves as an industry mentor to many paper engineering students, allowing him to pass along much of his 25-plus years of industry knowledge, experience and key learnings.

Favorite Bronco Memory: Being part of a small and dedicated group of paper engineering students who took six credits of Process Instrumentation in four weeks before Dr. Raj went on sabbatical. It was intense and I retained the most knowledge from that class!


Tonya M. Noble, B.S. Electrical Engineering ‘96

Tonya Noble is an Executive Director for The Boeing Company - Global
Services – International Government Services in St. Louis, Missouri. In this
role, she is responsible for global portfolio of defense products and services. She previously held director responsibilities for the sustainment of military aircraft in Southeast Asia, India and Australia, and has held senior leadership and technical roles for other Boeing military and space programs.

During her 20+ year career at Boeing, Tonya has maintained her connection with WMU through her involvement on the Electrical and Computer Engineering Industrial Advisory Board (1999-2005), Engineering Board of Visitors (2003-2005), and the WMU Alumni Association’s Board of Directors (2010-2015).

Tonya fulfills her passion of promoting females in STEM and women in leadership through her role as Executive Champion for Boeing Women in Leadership and the STEAM Committee and Board Director for the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation, a leadership program for Missouri women.

Prominent honors she has received include 2014 Outstanding Woman in Technology, 2012 Technology All Star, and selection as a ‘Top 40 Under 40’ award recipient by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Favorite Bronco Memory: My senior design group and I worked on a project to convert a battery-powered car from being steering wheel controlled to a joystick-controlled vehicle for a disabled child. We delivered the finished project to the school and to see the recipient’s face light up the way it did was nothing short of gratifying. It was that moment that I was more proud than ever to be a Bronco and the education I received at WMU. It was also then I realized the impact engineers can have on making the world a better place.