AE Celebrates Ki D. Lee Career
AE commemorated the 38-year career Emeritus Professor Ki D. Lee has had with the department during a retirement celebration held Wednesday, April 13. Attending were Lee’s family, AE colleagues and several students.
AE Emeritus Prof. Ki Lee and AE Department Head J. Craig Dutton
Lee’s association with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began when he became an AE graduate student in the early 1970s. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Seoul National University in Korea in 1967, he earned an MS in 1973 and a PhD in 1976 from AE at Illinois.
Rising in the ranks of the university hierarchy, Lee became a full professor in AE in 1995, and was also an affiliate professor in what is now Mechanical Science and Engineering.
Lee’s research activities focused on aerodynamic design optimization, grid generation, and computational algorithms. Projects included the development of convergence acceleration methods, high-resolution algorithms for the Navier-Stokes equations, hypersonic flow analysis, transonic drag reduction, high-lift design in take-off and landing configurations, transonic turbomachinery design, multi-block grid generation for complex configurations, solution-adaptive grid generation, and grid-quality improvement. Companies and organizations including McDonnell-Douglas, Boeing, Texron Defense Systems, NASA Ames and NASA Lewis funded Lee’s research.
AE Emeritus Prof. Ki Lee with his family, from left, daughter, Angie Lee; wife, Jay Lee; granddaughter, Josie Lee (stroller); grandson, Jacob Lee; daughter, Joyce Lee; and son-in-law, Hank Lee
Having graduated at the top of his class from Seoul National University, Lee continued his association with his homeland throughout his years at Illinois. He was an invited lecturer at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology in 1983. Lee was honored as Man of the Year by the Kyunggi High School Alumni Association in 1998, then was installed as an Overseas Member of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea in 1999. He returned to Seoul National University as an Invited Professor in 2001.
Among other honors, Lee received the 1981 Medal for International Cooperation from Donier Aircraft Co., in Germany; was named by the Department of Defense and Boeing as the Team Leader of the Best IR&D Team in 1983 and 1984; and received NASA’s 2001 Award for Turning Goals into Reality.