University of Pittsburgh
May 4, 2004

Pitt Alumnus John A. Swanson Wins Highest Award In Engineering


PITTSBURGH—Pitt Alumnus John Swanson, founder of ANSYS, was awarded the John Fritz Medal May 3 by the American Association of Engineering Societies. Established in 1902, the award is considered to be the highest award in the engineering profession and has been presented to, among others, Orville Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, Alfred Nobel, Thomas Edison, and George Westinghouse.

Swanson earned the Ph.D. degree in applied mechanics at Pitt's School of Engineering in 1966, after earning the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering at Cornell University. Swanson is internationally recognized as an authority and innovator in the application of finite-element methods to engineering.

In 1970, Swanson founded Swanson Analysis Systems, now ANSYS, which develops and globally markets engineering simulation software used by designers and engineers across a broad spectrum of industries, including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, nuclear, electronics and biomedical. In 2000, ANSYS endowed a Ph.D. fellowship in Swanson's name for a Pitt engineering student.

Supported by gifts of nearly $5 million from Swanson, The John A. Swanson Institute for Technical Excellence was established by Pitt's School of Engineering in 2003. SITE houses two centers—the John A. Swanson Center for Micro and Nano Systems and the John A. Swanson Center for Product Innovation, the only complete product development center in the Pittsburgh region.

The Swanson Center for Micro and Nano Systems offers opportunities for industry partners to work with Pitt engineering faculty to develop intellectual property. The Swanson Center for Product Innovation is a one-stop new product development shop designed to help industry take advantage of the educational and technical resources available in the School of Engineering.

In 1998, Pitt's School of Engineering honored Swanson with its Distinguished Alumnus Award. Swanson is an Honorary Member and Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In 1994, he was one of Industry Week's Top 50 R&D Stars in the United States, and in 1986-1987, the ASME named Swanson Pittsburgh Engineer of the Year. In 1988, he was named Pittsburgh Entrepreneur of the Year in High Technology by the Entrepreneurial Services Group of Arthur Young and Venture Magazine.