UB Alum Funds Fellowship for Minority Student in Graduate Engineering Program

Release Date: September 19, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A retired General Electric vice president has matched money with his former employer to provide a $20,000 fellowship for the UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Henry Stone, who received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1949, asked that his gift be used to benefit a graduate student in engineering who is a member of a minority group or an immigrant like himself.

"I wanted to help someone get an education so I put UB on my gift list," said Stone.

"As part of one of its first graduating classes in engineering, it just makes me feel good to see that UB is growing," he noted, "and so proud that the engineering school is becoming nationally recognized."

Hashim Muhammad, selected as the Henry Stone Graduate Assistant, said he is grateful to Stone for helping him continue his education. Muhammad, from a family of nine in Harlem, is working on his master's degree in civil engineering with a concentration in structural engineering and construction management. His goal is to own a firm that both designs and builds structures.

Mark Karwan, dean of the SEAS noted that Muhammad "now can focus on his studies without the added financial pressures of a two-year graduate program.

"A scholarship like this enhances our opportunities for a more economically diverse student population while at the same time strengthening our bonds between students and alumni," Karwan added.

Stone emigrated to the U.S. from pre-war Germany with his parents during his high-school years, completed American high-school equivalency requirements and went on to serve with the Armed Forces in the Pacific during World War II. He then returned to Buffalo and enrolled at UB on the GI Bill.

About a month before he was to graduate, Stone recalled that the university told him he "could not graduate because I did not meet the plane geometry requirements for entry." Although by then Stone had completed several university math courses, including advanced geometry, he apparently lacked the course called "high school plane geometry," which had been included in his math classes in Germany.

By the time Stone convinced administrators that he qualified, he already had accepted an offer from the General Electric Co., where he subsequently worked for 38 years. His parents went to retrieve his diploma at commencement and discovered that he had graduated summa cum laude.

Stone's career with GE included designing, building and testing nuclear-power plants for the U.S. Navy. In 1968, he was appointed general manager of the Knolls Atomic Power Lab and in 1974 he moved to San Jose, Calif., as manager of engineering in GE's commercial reactor operation, eventually being appointed a vice president for GE. In 1981, Stone was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He retired from GE in 1987, but continued to consult for various utilities and some Department of Energy facilities.

Stone and his wife, Joan, live in San Jose.

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