Mac Mellor, Emeritus Centennial Professor of Mechanical Engineering, dies

Arthur McLeod (Mac) Mellor, 80, emeritus Centennial Professor of Mechanical Engineering, died Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Durham, N.C.

Mellor joined the faculty of the School of Engineering in January 1988 as Centennial Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He retired from Vanderbilt in 2004.

Arthur (Mac) Mellor

During his career, Mellor’s research focused on solving difficult problems in gas turbine and rocket propulsion and providing solutions to industry. He developed engineering models to predict engine performance. He was particularly adept at bringing together teams of government, industry and university researchers. His research achievements were recognized in 2002 when he was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

In his years at Vanderbilt, Mellor promoted graduate education, serving twice as Director of Graduate Studies in mechanical engineering and chairing a university committee to examine the future of the Graduate School.  He was a strong proponent of undergraduate research and independent study, vitalizing the honors program in mechanical engineering and serving on the founding committee for, then directing the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program. He also chaired the Board of Faculty Advisors of the undergraduate Honor Council.

Mellor is past member of the NATO/AGARD Propulsion and Energetics Panel.  He has given other distinguished service to his profession and received a number of citations. He published more than 150 papers, book chapters and articles, and edited one book. He taught several short courses for government and industry.

Mellor, from Elmira, N.Y., earned a BS degree and a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University. He joined the faculty of Purdue University in the School of Mechanical Engineering where he was promoted to professor in 1975 and served as Graduate Program Administrator. From 1982 to 1987, he was Hess Professor of Combustion in Mechanical Engineering at Drexel University and served for one year as acting department chairman. In the 1980s he accepted short appointments in industry and the U.S. Army and Navy.

Mellor is survived by two sisters and a number of nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.