Cliff Stover, a former professor of mechanical engineering who advised Cal Poly Pomona’s Baja SAE and Formula SAE teams for 22 years, was awarded the Carroll Smith Mentor’s Cup by SAE International and the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).
The cup is the highest honor awarded to any SAE advisor and “recognizes extraordinary levels of personal time and expertise given to engineering education, and the ability to serve as an exceptional role model for students.”
During the award ceremony, Darshan Bagivalu, a junior majoring in industrial engineering and leader of this year’s Formula SAE team noted that, “Stover really did master the fine line between micro-managing and giving too much liberty…he would push for items that proved to be very important and then give us enough slack to make our own mistakes and learn from them.”
Over the years, Stover has advised Cal Poly Pomona Baja SAE and Formula SAE teams that participated in 71 national and international competitions. He has also mentored teams participating in SAE Supermileage, SAE Aerodesign, ASME Human Powered Vehicle (HPV), and HPSS Human Powered Submarine events.
“It’s all been fun,” said Stover, “and the travel has been great: Italy, England, Germany, Montreal, and in the U.S., California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and maybe more.
“Engineering students have always excelled in project related environments where classroom theory is put into practice. Team projects and international multidisciplinary design competitions showcase our future, our engineers, and our next generation of great young minds.”
Stover began his involvement in racing at age 14, racing motocross at Corona Raceway in 1974 and later racing 750 super sport motorcycles and shifter karts. He began offering advice to Cal Poly Pomona’s Formula SAE team while attending classes as a graduate student.
“What’s been most rewarding has been working with students and watching them succeed year after year, and seeing them in positions that make us all proud. It is especially fulfilling to have them come back and thank me for the support and guidance through their college years.
An alumnus of Cal Poly Pomona (B.S., mechanical engineering, 1992; M.S.E., 1995), Stover was a member of the faculty from 1995 through spring 2017. In 2009, he received the College of Engineering’s Outstanding Academic Advisor award. He also received the SAE Faculty Advisor Award in 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Stover has joined the Oregon Institute of Technology as a tenure track associate professor.