Rhymer named 2013 McDonald Mentor

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg High School graduate and a department head at the United States Air Force Academy has received an award from an engineering honor society.

Lt. Col. Donald W. Rhymer, Ph.D., son of Pete and Sue Rhymer of Vienna, has been named the eighth McDonald Mentor by Tau Beta Pi. The award celebrates excellence in mentoring and advising among Tau Beta Pi educators and engineers who consistently support the personal and professional development of their students and colleagues.

Rhymer is a professor and department head of engineering mechanics at the Air Force Academy. He was honored at the 108th annual convention of the honorary on Saturday in Ames, Iowa, where Tau Beta Pi President Larry A. presented $1,000 and an engraved medallion to Rhymer. Another $1,000 grant will be presented to the nominators, the Colorado Zeta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, of which he is a member.

Rhymer is a 1991 graduate of Parkersburg High where he was student body president. He and his wife, Dawn Rhymer live in Monument, Colo., and have five children, Jared, Helen, Ruth, Colin and Allison.

Rhymer was endorsed for going beyond the call in developing and mentoring engineering students. He has demonstrated a commitment to his cadets, his institution and the community.

He received a bachelor’s in engineering mechanics from the Air Force Academy and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has been an instructor in the engineering mechanics department at the academy for more than six years.

In 2010, he became the deputy for the mechanical engineering curriculum.

During the past three years, he starts each class by motivating cadets about leadership and officership. He has also become a popular choice for speaking engagements and was recently asked to fill in as a guest speaker for an annual banquet for the senior class when the original speaker canceled on the morning of the event.

Rhymer advised 24 cadets during the recent academic year, including a Rhodes Scholar. In addition, he leads a council of cadets majoring in mechanical engineering to foster a direct means of student assessment and feedback.

Outside the classroom, he mentors cadets in professional growth as the officer in charge for a religious education club and as the officer in charge for the highly visible Falconry Club. He also remains active in the community, serving as a Sunday school teacher for Forestgate Presbyterian Church.

His devotion to his profession has been recognized with two recent teaching awards. Rhymer was named the Outstanding Academy Educator and the DFEM Instructor of the Year for the department of engineering mechanics. This year, the Colorado Zeta Chapter chose him as Instructor of the Year.

The chapter voted to nominate Rhymer and cited his, “consistent outstanding support to the personal and professional development of his students and fellow faculty, and as a consummate academic advisor and mentor.”

The award was established in 2005 by Marion and Capers W. McDonald, the McDonald Mentor Award recognizes engineering educators or professionals in industry, government, or service organizations who have shown true concern for the individual, supporting an environment for developing talents, and who have earned respect and recognition for their contributions to their field and to the greater community.

Tau Beta Pi is the Engineering Honor Society, founded at Lehigh University in 1885. It has collegiate chapters at 241 engineering colleges in the United States and active alumni chapters in 31 cities.