Stuart Uram, 1934-2019
June 7, 2019
Originally from Pennsylvania, Stu Uram ’56, ScD ’59 had never heard of MIT before the dean of his high school noticed his aptitude for the sciences and recommended that he consider applying. “Dean Adams was a great influence on my life, and he said, ‘MIT is the place for you’.” The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is grateful to this early mentor for steering Stu toward MIT, as we mourn the end of more than six decades of friendship with him.
Stu discovered an early love for metallurgy at MIT, where he was deeply influenced by Professor Howard Taylor. He continued on to do his doctoral work following a summer of work at the American Brake Shoe Company, where he met a young Merton Flemings ’51, ScD ’54. “We became friends that summer, and then at the end of the summer I went back to MIT to do graduate work, and Mert was offered the job as the assistant professor.” Stu became Mert’s first advisee, working on directional solidification in ingots. This work propelled him into the casting industry, which led to the aircraft turbine industry. Ultimately Stu founded Certech, which manufactured ceramic cooling cores for Boeing 747 engines with factories in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and England.
Following the sale of Certech and his retirement, Stu found time to pursue another area of interest: 3D printing. He had seen early versions of the technology in the 1980s and become interested: “In those days, you needed $100,000 to buy a machine, and you needed to hire three engineers to run it because there was no software. When I retired, you could buy one for less than $1,000. I ran out and bought a 3D printer, and I started in the corner in the kitchen making 3D prints of turbine plates.” A lifelong inventor, Stu’s recent ventures focused on creating 3D-printed molds for industrial ceramics. “I tell people I have to figure out what I'm going to do when I grow up.”
DMSE and MIT are grateful to Stu for his many years of generous support, including the creation of an endowed fellowship ,an endowed scholarship, and support for the renovated forge and foundry named in honor of his longtime friend Merton Flemings. “MIT changed my life. It gave me the opportunity to meet someone like Mert Flemings, without whom I might never have started a technical business or gone into the foundries.”