Dr. James Lafferty, Champion for Biomedical Engineering at UK, Dies

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Dr. James Lafferty, who taught mechanical engineering and biomechanics at the University of Kentucky for 32 years, passed away on November 3. He was 83.

The Center for Biomedical Engineering (now the Department of Biomedical Engineering) at UK owes its inception largely to Dr. Lafferty, who advocated for a biomedical engineering graduate program at UK. Dr. Charles Knapp, professor-director-emeritus of the Center for Biomedical Engineering, remembers Dr. Lafferty’s tireless effort to garner support for the program.

“Jim Lafferty was a soft spoken professor who was relentless in his pursuit for the establishment of the University of Kentucky’s Graduate Center for Biomedical Engineering. Jim built on the early biomedical engineering research and educational efforts of Professor Karl O. Lange at the Wenner-Gren Aeronautical Research Laboratory (then part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering). Jim saw the need for a graduate degree program in biomedical engineering and pushed for years to establish one without success. When all seemed lost, Professor Wimberly Royster, then a UK vice president, called Jim and said, “Let’s do it.” With Jim as director, a graduate center for biomedical engineering was established and, shortly afterward, an M.S. and Ph.D. program was instituted. The UK community, and especially the students who received degrees in biomedical engineering, owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Lafferty for his hard work and dedication.”

To read Dr. Lafferty’s obituary, click here.

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