The University of Dayton lost a highly respected professor and researcher on Friday, Nov. 23.
Dilip Ballal, who first joined UD in 1983, passed away from non-small cell lung cancer.
According to John Leland, the director of the University of Dayton Research Institute, Ballal had been suffering from the disease for about a year. However, Leland said Ballal never lost his composure and dignity.
“When you observed him in the workplace he always showed optimism and dignity,” Leland said. “He always surrounded himself with his friends and colleagues and was always an honorable man.”
Leland said he first heard about Ballal’s passing from an email received Saturday afternoon.
According to Ballal’s university profile, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering in Bhopal, India, along with a mechanical engineering master’s degree and Ph.D. from Cranfield Institute of Technology in England.
Upon coming to UD, Ballal became head of the Fuels and Combustion division at UDRI.
In 2003, Ballal became head of UDRI’s Energy and Environmental Engineering division, where as of his passing he was one of the university’s highest-paid employees.
In addition to his research, Ballal served as the Hans von Ohain Distinguished Professor and Researcher, according to an article published by UDRI on Sept. 30, 1999. According to the same article, von Ohain was one of the inventors of the jet engine and a former UD professor and researcher.
“He [Ballal] was the catalyst and the person who drove the representation of the university in that area,” Leland said. “Beyond that, he was such an incredible mentor to everyone around him.”
According to Ballal’s university profile page, he was elected as an American Society of Mechanical Engineers fellow in 1992 as well as an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics fellow in 1993. Ballal also won the AIAA’s Energy Systems Award in 1993, recognized for specific contributions to the field of energy.
Ballal received ASME’s R. Tom Sawyer Award in 2011. According to the ASME, the R. Tom Sawyer Award is given to individuals who have made “contributions to advance the purpose of the Gas Turbine Industry and to the International Gas Turbine Institute over a substantial period of time.”
“He [Ballal] was an incredible individual and incredibly accomplished,” Leland said. “He won awards and at the same time was regarded as a humble, caring and honorable personable individual. You don’t get that package often.”
Leland said that a funeral service for Ballal occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the Newcomer Funeral Home and was incredibly well attended.
According to Leland, there was one person on a business trip from California who knew Ballal and attended the service. Leland also said that the service was well-represented by the UD community with many professors and students.
In addition, Leland said there were a number of people from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base because a vast majority of Ballal’s research was funded by the U.S. Air Force.
According to Ballal’s obituary published online by the funeral home, he leaves behind a wife, two children and two grandchildren.
In addition, Leland said that Ballal also leaves behind a UD community that truly respected him as a person, even more so than the impressive accomplishments he had accumulated during his career.
“You don’t replace a person like Dilip. Dilip’s irreplaceable,” Leland said. “Dilip was just an incredible gentleman, professional and caring person.”