Of all of this year's retiring professors, Richard McGinnis has the longest tenure with a record of 41-1/2 years. His relationship with Bucknell began even earlier than that, in 1965 when he first came to campus as an undergraduate, a firsthand witness to the turbulent times of the Vietnam generation. After receiving his master's degree from Northwestern University and working shortly for General Electric, McGinnis returned to his alma mater as an instructor in 1970. In 1972 he took an education leave to begin his doctoral degree at the University of California at Berkeley, returning to Bucknell as an assistant professor in 1975. He says, "Bucknell has been a great place to spend a career with supporting colleagues, talented and engaged students. In recent years, the globalization of education has increased the excitement of being a Bucknell faculty member."
Although McGinnis' main area of expertise lies in the fields of transportation planning, safety and engineering, he spearheaded the University's first CAD (computer-aided design) efforts and directed the Bucknell Center for Computer-Aided Engineering and Design from 1982 to 1986. In 1991, McGinnis, with his then-17-year-old son, also named Richard, authored a text called Learning Cadkey, which was published by McGraw Hill, Inc.
He has authored numerous papers and presented worldwide on a range of transportation issues, including the efficacy of traffic barriers, analyses of fatal auto accidents, conspicuity of railway cars, and high-speed rail systems, to name a few.
On campus, McGinnis has been involved with strategy and planning to alleviate the parking crunch. In downtown Lewisburg, McGinnis and his students were responsible for assessing, planning and installing a pedestrian road crossing that has been in place since 2002. The founder of the Lewisburg Traffic Committee, McGinnis has long been devoted to making driving, walking and biking safer for the local community, in addition to helping both auto and pedestrian traffic flow more smoothly. He says, "Lewisburg is a great a laboratory where students can learn about many aspects of transportation and engineering, and at the same time make improvements to the community through their service-learning activities."
When McGinnis received Bucknell's Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence in 2003, students commented on their work with him, saying, "Smashing into roadside barriers becomes an engineering thrill not to be missed."
In 2011, McGinnis was honored with the Burma-Bucknell Bowl Award for supporting and promoting international study opportunities for all students - especially for engineers. Through his hard work, encouragement and leadership, study abroad has become an integral part of the College of Engineering. He co-directed the Bucknell in London program three times and helped to launch the student-run group GLOBE (Global Learning Opportunities for Bucknell Engineers). He also was instrumental in helping to organize the Bucknell Bangkok Alumni Club in Thailand.
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