Derby History Quiz

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William F. Durand

William F. Durand was once known as the "Dean of American Engineering" for an incredibly long life of achievement in the field of aeronautical engineering that started when he was a member of the first graduating class of Birmingham High School (now Derby High School) in 1877. He went on to graduate second in his class from the Naval Academy at Annapolis (though he didn't get his degree until 76 years later - more on that with the answer). He later got a Ph. D. from Lafayette College. He went on to teach at Cornell and Stanford (where the aeronautical engineering building is named after him!).

During an illustrious career his awards included the Guggenheim Medal for research in aerodynamic theory,  the John Fritz medal for achievement in aviation, the Franklin Institute Medal, J. J. Carty Medal and the Presidential Medal for Merit. He was also president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He worked on the Hoover and Grand Coulee dams as well as being a charter member of NACA, the forerunner of NASA. Born in 1859, he lived to the ripe old age of 99, and last visited Derby in 1955.

Correct answers were received from: Mayor Marc J. Garofalo, Robert P. Forbes, Paul Comkowycz, Lynn from Shelton, David Neustaedter, Markanthony Izzo, Dave Petz, Fred Grant,  Millie from Ansonia, Carolyn Nowakowski Kovach, Donald Grailich, Eileen Krugel,  Howard Bradshaw,  Kimberley Shelton and Rick Dunne.

To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.