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Acoustics lecturer earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Fri, 02/28/2014

LAWRENCE — Earlier this month the National Association of Systems Contractors announced that Robert Coffeen, acoustics lecturer for the Department of Architecture, has won its annual Per Haugen Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We’re honored to pay tribute to someone who continues to move the industry forward,” says NSCA Executive Director Chuck Wilson. “Bob has committed his professional life to combining architecture and audio technology. He serves as a great example to many new leaders within our industry. I had the great fortune of learning most of what I know about audio systems from him.”

Coffeen began teaching at KU in 1992 after owning and operating his own acoustic consulting firm for more than 35 years. During his tenure the firm completed more than 3,000 projects worldwide.

He is well-known to students for his ingenious audio demonstrations and talent for making the extremely complex physics of sound understandable without watering it down.

But perhaps his most lasting contribution to both the field and KU is Coffeen's role as a mentor. Several dozen of his former students are now employed in the acoustics field professionally.

“Any architect should be able to walk into a space and look at the materials there and figure out what the room is going to sound like. Most KU architecture graduates can, and that’s unusual,” he said.

Coffeen adds the Haugen Award to a wall full of industry accolades. He has also received NSCA’s University Educator of the Year award three times and the Acoustical Society of America’s Rossing Prize for Education in Acoustics. The Bose Corporation’s Professional Systems Division awarded him its Education Excellence Award in 2012.

The Per Haugen lifetime achievement award is given to an individual who exhibits dedication to philanthropy and social responsibility, and business practices with high ethics and integrity, in addition to active leadership in the NSCA. It is a not-for-profit association that represents the commercial low-voltage electronic systems industry.



Without a Wounded Warrior scholarship, Timothy Hornik probably wouldn’t be at KU pursuing a doctoral degree in therapeutic sciences. And he definitely wouldn’t have led the Pledge of Allegiance during President Barack Obama’s visit to the university in January — a moment he will never forget. Hornik, a retired Army officer, lost his sight while serving as an air defense artillery platoon leader in Iraq. The Wounded Warrior Educational Initiative, launched at KU in 2008, provides financial support and specialized training to help injured veterans and their family members pursue advanced degrees. With his education, Hornik plans to counsel soldiers through trauma. “All of the opportunities and services I’ve received originated from the efforts of someone else paying it forward or back,” he says. “I simply hope to continue this cycle and change the lives of others.” Learn more about the Wounded Warrior Scholarship: http://bit.ly/1xhbaxy

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