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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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ME Professor Retires After 40 Years

By: 

Esmeralda Fisher

Friends and colleagues gathered to honor Stanley Kleis’ distinguished service to the UH department of mechanical engineering at a retirement celebration on Friday, August 23 at the University of Houston.

Kleis joined the Cullen College of Engineering as a visiting assistant professor in the department of mechanical engineering in 1973. Two years later, he became an assistant professor in 1975, and in 1981, was named associate professor.

“One of the interesting things about Stan is that he is one of the few academics who does advanced Ph.D.- level fundamental research but then, he can go to a machine shop and actually make real gizmos giving any technician a run for their money,” said Pradeep Sharma, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor and department chair. 

One such invention, the miniature bioreactor for space applications, led to Kleis receiving the highest NASA civilian award, the Public Service Medal. This rare distinction is given in recognition of exceptional contributions to the mission of NASA by those who are not government employees. Kleis was recognized in 2004 for his contributions as lead investigator of a team from UH, NASA/Glenn, NASA/JSC, Wyle Laboratories, and Universities Space Research Associations in the development of the Hydrodynamic Focusing Bioreactor for Space.

Kleis’ primary research interest has focused on turbulent shear flows and fluid mechanics, solid-liquid two phase flows, mass transfer in micro gravity, and stratified flows. He has advised over 30 graduate students and has published 57 papers during his tenure at UH.

A highly-regarded teacher, Kleis has been a recipient of every major award for teaching, including the highest University honor, the Enron Teaching Excellence Award; the highest Cullen College honor, the W.T. Kittinger Award; and several Professor of the Year awards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) student chapter.

Kleis received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University in 1967, 1968, and 1974, respectively.

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