Dr. Robert (Bob) Hocken, Professor Emeritus of UNC Charlotte’s Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science Department died on June 2, 2021. Dr. Hocken was an international leader in the field of precision engineering, an award-winning educator, and a much-loved professor and colleague.
One of the founding fathers of engineering and scientific research at UNC Charlotte, Dr. Hocken came to Charlotte in 1988 as the Norvin Kennedy Dickerson Jr. Distinguished Professor of Precision Engineering. He established and led the University’s Center for Precision Metrology until his retirement in May, 2014.
Support the Dr. Robert Hocken ME&ES Scholarship and Hocken Awards today to honor Dr. Hocken's life-long dedication to the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Center for Precision Metrology at UNC Charlotte.
Your donation will help endow a scholarship to support Charlotte mechanical engineering students who have a financial need and an interest in precision metrology. This scholarship will live on and honor Dr. Hocken in perpetuity through the next generation of mechanical engineers. In addition to the Scholarship to honor his incomparable life and impact, we have created a fund to support four meaningful "Hocken Awards". One of Dr. Hocken’s favorite tasks was acting as advisor for the Mini-Baja team, which he did for 15 years. The Mini-Baja is a car, completely designed and built by students, that has to run over hills and trails, through mud and across water.
The UNC Charlotte team always had an advantage with Dr. Hocken as its advisor, because not only was he an expert in mechanical design, but he also let the team practice in the fields and roads at his farm. He also encouraged students to take advantage of research opportunities; encouraged his fellow faculty members to establish partnerships in research; and pushed for funds for faculty to be able to attend and deliver lectures across the US. A gift to the Hocken Engineering Awards will support these four endeavors that will have a lasting impact on the engineering program:
- Hocken BAJA Motorsports fund – This recognizes Dr. Bob Hocken's contributions as an integral part of the early SAE Baja competition entries. A badge will be applied to the Baja car in the selected year to recognize the support.
- Hocken Award for Student Research – This is to honor a student in Dr. Hocken's tradition of recognizing excellence in the Center for Precision Metrology through an annual award focused on a graduate student to offset tuition, travel for the annual conference, or for a student research presentation.
- Hocken Award for Faculty Research - to recognize Dr. Hocken's nurturing encouragement of faculty to establish partnerships with other institutions, both domestic and international. through an annual award focused on faculty retention and recognition.
- Hocken Lecture Series – This reflects Bob's willingness to host external researchers at UNC Charlotte through an award that allows the Dean or Department Head to award travel expenses for visiting lecturers or for a COE Faculty presentation at another university.
As a researcher, Dr. Hocken is known for transforming metrology in the U.S. and the world. A few of his significant research contributions include the invention of the original tracking interferometer system, commonly known today as a laser tracker, and pioneering work the field of software error correction for coordinate measuring machines and machine tools.
As a teacher, Dr. Hocken is remembered by his students as an inspiring mentor, who positively impacted the lives and careers of the thousands of undergraduate and graduate students who passed through his classroom. He understood and exemplified the importance of training students to be independent, critical and analytical engineers, with the professional skills needed in the modern world. He supervised more than 33 Ph.D. and master’s student theses, and won numerous teaching awards.