Missouri University of Science and Technology recently awarded four honorary professional degrees during spring commencement ceremonies. The following were recipients:
C. John Brannon, a patent attorney with Brannon, Robinson, Sowers, Hughel and Doss, earned bachelor of science degrees in physics and ceramic engineering in 1985, a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1986 and master of science and Ph.D. degrees in ceramic engineering in 1986 and 1989, respectively, all from Missouri S&T. Brannon is a member of the Missouri S&T Psychology Advisory Board. He lives in Indianapolis, Ind.
John Fairbanks, owner of Tosshers Vending, earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1971. He began his career at General Motors, but found his niche at Texas Instruments where, in 1976, he developed the company’s most successful scientific and business calculator product line. He managed the engineering department at Mattel Electronics during the TV game boom. His most notable product development was the Poquet Computer in 1989, which he developed at a company he co-founded. It set the standard for power management in portable electronics products. Fairbanks now runs the largest honor box vending operation in the country, helping support a charity for missing kids. He lives in Lincoln, Calif.
Fred Byron Parks, chief executive officer for NDS Surgical Imaging, earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1969. Parks also holds a master of science degree from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, all in mechanical engineering. Prior to August 2011, Parks served as chair of the board and chief executive officer of Urologix Inc. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Marconi Medical Systems and led its integration in the Philips medical business following its acquisition by Royal Philips Electronics. He has held positions as president, chief operating officer and board member of St. Jude Medical Inc. and EG&G, now known as PerkinElmer. He has also served on the board of directors of Steady State Imaging LLC and of Analogic. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Robert M. Saxer, a civil engineer who retired from the international chemical engineering firm AMCEC when it was sold to a European company, earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1961 and 1962, respectively. He specialized in the biological treatment of industrial wastes, working in the Chicago area on design, operation and sale of biological and chemical water purification process equipment systems. In the early 1980s, he joined AMCEC as project engineer for air pollution control. In retirement, Saxer designed a high-efficiency HVAC system for a 19th century stone church, tutored GED math, volunteers with Shrine Children’s Hospital Chicago and helps build experimental private aircraft. He lives in Genoa, Ill.