Legacy of Action:
Dr. John Ligon
Professor Emeritus of Engineering Mechanics
John was born in the Great State of Texas (as John would put it) in the city of Mexia. He earned his BS degree in 1964 and MS degree in 1965, both in Mechanical Engineering and both from Texas Tech University. He earned his PhD degree in 1971 in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University.
Having been in Army ROTC and a commissioned officer he had a deferment while in graduate school and served on active duty from August 1970-December 1970 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He worked for Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco as a Senior Engineer form 1971 until he joined Michigan Tech in 1972 as an assistant professor. He rose through the ranks and was promoted to Professor in 1981. John retired from Michigan Tech in September 2006 after 34 years of dedicated service.
John’s awards include the SESA 1976 R.E. Peterson Award for the most outstanding applications paper in the Journal of SESA over a two year period, the SEM 1990 M.M. Frocht Award for outstanding achievement in education of experimental mechanics, the SEM 1993 TATNALL award for long and distinguished service to the Society. He was President of the Society of Experimental Mechanics (formerly SESA) 1983-1984. He was elected to the Texas Tech University Academy of Mechanical Engineering in 1995. While John was President of SESA he led a campaign to change the name of the Society for Experimental Stress Analysis to the Society for Experimental Mechanics. He was elected fellow of the Society for Experimental Mechanics in 1997.
John was an active researcher with external funding from a wide variety of government and industrial sponsors. He was the co-developer of the field of Phytomechanics, which is concerned with applying experimental methods to the study of plants. He has graduated 31 MS and PhD students and published over 40 technical papers.
John has also had a long and distinguished career of engineering mechanics education on many fronts. He is a respected teacher by his students. In 1991 he organized and chaired the first International Student Paper Competition of the Society, which continues still today.
John is married to Linda Ligon, who taught mathematics and recently retired from Houghton High School. They have two children Dan and Angie.