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Faculty Focus: Dr. James Lynch

By Alex Khorey
On November 15, 2023

The University of Detroit Mercy has a long and rich history that its foundation is built upon. One thing that keeps this history preserved is continuity and that word is directly associated at this university with Dr. James Lynch. Dr. Lynch is an alumnus of the university and an engineering professor that has been here for almost 20 years and seen four different school presidents.

Here is what he had to say in an interview on his background and responsibilities as a faculty member at Detroit Mercy. 

VN: How did your career progress from undergraduate to professor?

Lynch: I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Detroit. So, I was actually in one of the final graduating classes from the University of Detroit. Then I went to work as an engineer first for a small architectural firm, then for a mid-size consulting firm. I did my master’s at Wayne State part-time while I was working full-time. Some of that happened because there were things I was doing at work that I had not studied as an undergraduate, so I needed to learn that technical content. And then I took other classes that were required for the curriculum, which allowed us to do different kinds of things that we hadn’t previously done. Then I quit industry and went for my PhD at Northwestern. And all those degrees are in civil engineering.

VN: How did you get into teaching at Detroit Mercy and what are you teaching now?

Lynch: I was hired to teach mid and upper-level civil engineering classes in 2005. That was the construction materials class. I also teach the lab that goes along with it, which mostly we break things and it’s determining stress, strain and strength properties and material. So, the students enjoy that.

VN: You were in Sigma Pi Fraternity as an undergrad and now you are the chapter advisor. Can you talk a little about that?

Lynch: Anytime I talk about Greek life, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Definitely the people that I was active with, some of them are engineers, some of them are architects, some of them are contractors. So there’s that professional development and connections. I just got a text message at 6:30 this morning from one of the brothers who’s a year younger than me that his kids are looking at colleges and they’re coming for a visit today. I’ve been chapter advisor since 2008 and have loved the connections I have made in that outside the classroom. 

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