Donald E. Bently Faculty Fellowship in Engineering

Photo of Donald E. Bently
The Donald E. Bently Faculty Fellowship in Engineering was established in June 2002 through a gift to the University of Iowa Foundation from University of Iowa engineering graduate Donald E. Bently of Minden, NV.

The Donald E. Bently Engineering Fund establishes a permanent endowment with the annual spendable earnings used to support the College’s academic and research pursuits.

A globally recognized authority on rotor dynamics as well as vibration monitoring and diagnostics, Mr. Bently was born in Pleasant Prairie, IA. He graduated from the UI in 1949 with a B.S. degree with distinction, and in 1950 with an M.S. degree, both in electrical engineering, from the UI College of Engineering. Working from his garage as a graduate student, Mr. Bently pioneered and perfected a transistorized design for a new type of distance-measuring device. His transducer soon found its application inside machinery where it was used to observe the vibration and position characteristics that are important indicators of machinery condition.

He was founder and former owner, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Bently Nevada Corporation (BNC), a $200 million per year manufacturer of electronic systems for monitoring the mechanical condition of machinery. He is also the former President of Bently Rotor Dynamics Research Corporation (BRDRC), a subsidiary of Bently Nevada Corporation. Mr. Bently sold BNC and BRDRC (as a sale of assets) to General Electric Corporation in a friendly acquisition in 2002. Until his death in 2012, Mr. Bently was the owner, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer of Bently Pressurized Bearing Company, which manufactures modern, highly efficient bearings that control stability for rotating machinery. He also was the owner of Bently Agrowdynamics – the agricultural business of the Bently Family Limited Partnership, of which he was general partner.

Mr. Bently authored or co-authored more than 140 papers on rotor dynamics and was the holder of two patents. In 2002, he was recognized as a Fellow by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Mr. Bently was Chairman of the International Symposium on Stability Control of Rotating Machinery (ISCORMA-2), held in 2003 in Gdansk, Poland. Mr. Bently’s book, titled Fundamentals of Rotating Machinery Diagnostics, was released in 2002.