Thomas Wanke was a monumental figure in fluid power, active for more than 50 years and influencing generations of fluid power engineers through his work at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, its Fluid Power Institute, and with the National Fluid Power Association.
In October of 2022, to honor his memory, and to help ensure that his positive impact on fluid power education continues to be felt, the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation announced that it would administer the Thomas Wanke Legacy Fund, a dedicated funding mechanism that supports fluid power scholarships and education activities at universities throughout the United States.
Since making the announcement, total donations to the fund at the time of this writing, exceed $30,000. One significant milestone associated with that figure is that it qualifies for the maximum matching gift of $25,000 that was pledged by the National Fluid Power Association – meaning that the fund now has more than $55,000 to use in supporting fluid power education.
In its first year, thanks to generous donations from Tom’s many friends, former students, and colleagues, three students received Tom Wanke Legacy Fund awards administered through the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation. Each of these students were awarded $2,000 toward their tuition expenses.
When selecting the awardees of the Tom Wanke Legacy Fund, the judges were looking for students who were:
- Passionate in their academics
- Active in extracurricular activities
- Dedicated to obtaining careers in the fluid power industry
Based on that criterion, NFPA industry member judges selected Tatiyana Timmons, Tony Hicks Jr., and Hannah Shu.
Tatiyana is a student at NFPA Power Partner Murray State University studying Electro-Mechanical Engineering and active with the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge Team. Tony is an incoming student studying Electrical Engineering at Morehouse College. Hannah is an incoming student studying Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.
“If I’m being completely honest, I was a bit hesitant at the beginning of my fluid power track because although I really liked the idea of being in this field, the material at first sight is intimidating. Combining that with the fact that there aren’t many women who choose this path, let alone women of color, I was almost overwhelmed. That being said I definitely feel much more comfortable in my decision in taking this journey. With each course, lesson and lab my confidence in my abilities grows. The more I grasp, the more excited I become to turn my knowledge into a meaningful career. Where I once was unsure of what I wanted for my future as far as an occupation, I now find myself inching closer to that answer every day and I’m positive that it will land me in fluid power.” -Tatiyana Timmons
“Being recognized by the fluid power industry about my passions and accomplishments is extremely rewarding and it gives me more motivation to continue my journey throughout my college years and beyond. I hope to continue meeting the world’s most brilliant thinkers along the way!” -Hannah Shu
“I chose to learn about fluid power because it is a crucial aspect that is needed in engineering. The implementation of fluid power will also be more convenient because compared to other mechanical and electrical drives, fluid power can transfer the same amount of power in a small area. I believe I will have a positive influence on the fluid power industry as I am already familiar with the control of direction, speed, force, and torque, which is essential for the power transmission part of fluid power. I will work to improve the electrical methods of controlling speed and torque through power transmissions, regulating the electrical power.” -Tony Hicks Jr.
Through a series of annual awards from the Tom Wanke Legacy Fund, we will be able to increase both the number of students studying fluid power, and the quality of fluid power education in our nation’s universities – two goals clearly aligned with and ennobled by Tom’s life and legacy. Additional donations are welcome and still being accepted at this link.
Please contact NFPA President and CEO, Eric Lanke, at email@example.com or 414-778-3351 with any questions.
NFPA supports student organizations at universities with annual stipend funding to help students learn about fluid power while they work on educational and technical projects. Currently for the 2023-24 academic year, there are 19 universities from across the country participating: If you are looking to get involved with these Fluid Power Clubs, see below for…
Mark your calendars for the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge Design and Specification Midway Reviews, happening in December and January. This is a fantastic opportunity for industry members to get engaged and connect with students. The reviews are 45-minute webinar presentations with 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges. During this review, students will showcase…