By Denise Dick
The Moser Hall student lounge that now bears his name is an appropriate remembrance of Jack Bakos Jr., his family and colleagues say.
Bakos, a member of Youngstown State University’s engineering faculty for 36 years and chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, died last year at 71. His widow, Patsy, donated $75,000 to renovate the lounge on Moser’s first floor known as the fishbowl and $75,000 to establish the Dr. Jack Bakos Jr. Memorial Scholarship Endowment.
“Jack was all about getting students to work together,” said Martin Abraham, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Students use the lounge to work collaboratively on projects.
Lounge renovations included new doors, ceiling, lights, flooring, showcase and tables.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor my husband’s memory than to continue the legacy he created at YSU,” Patsy Bakos said in a news release. “He inspired his students, and was inspired by them.”
Bakos had a way of making his class memorable, said William O. Barsch, retired chairman of Engineering Technology at YSU and a friend of Bakos.
It’s fitting that a space used to facilitate communication is named in Bakos’s memory as Bakos was a good communicator, Barsch said.
“There’s no way Jack would not appreciate being remembered by a room such as the fishbowl,” he said.
Patricia Heinrichs was one of Bakos’s former students, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at YSU.
“He expected you to do your best, and you really didn’t want to let him down,” said Heinrichs, who works at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
While she was a graduate student, Bakos was her thesis and academic adviser.
Bakos earned several teaching and service awards during his tenure at YSU. In 1994, the Student Government Association picked him as the first recipient of the Smith-Murphy Award for outstanding service to students, and students also honored him five times as the Engineering Professor of the year.
“It is appropriate that this lounge, where for years engineering students have gathered to study and visit, be named after someone whose career and life was so dedicated to his discipline, to his university and to his students,” YSU President Randy J. Dunn said in a news release.
His son, Jason Bakos, is an associate professor of computer science and engineering at the University of South Carolina. Growing up, he would often come to campus with his father and says his dad was liked and admired by both students and fellow faculty.
“It’s what motivated me to become a professor myself,” he said.
The younger Bakos believes his father’s dedication as the department chairman for 21 years, his interaction with students outside of the classroom with engineering organizations and his commitment to education are reasons he was so well thought of.
“To have the epicenter of this building with his name on it is beautifully appropriate,” he said.