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      A Beloved Professor

      Rest in Peace, Dr. Jonathan Akins

      jonathan akins

      Dr. Jonathan Akins

      A memorial mass for Assistant Professor Jonathan Akins will be held on Friday in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

      Widener University mourns the passing of Assistant Professor Jonathan Akins, who died Friday, Feb. 23. He was 36.

      Akins was a beloved professor, researcher and colleague who will be deeply missed. He came to Widener in August 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh. During his career, he created an impressive body of research that distinguished him, and our university, in the field of biomedical engineering.

      He was an exceptional teacher who was committed to conducting research with his students, offering them a multitude of hands-on experiences in his field.

      Much of his research was focused on the prevention of injuries and the development of new technologies to enhance the mobility of disabled individuals. His work was nationally recognized, and most recently, he helped to secure a grant from the Department of Defense to assist with his research to benefit military service members and veterans who live with limb loss and use prosthetics.

      jonathan akins

      An Exceptional Teacher

      Dr. Akins was dedicated to service both at Widener and in the city of Chester.

      "Jon's work in biomedical engineering was very special. He used his gifts to help improve the lives of people with physical disabilities, and to educate the next generation of engineers so they can make an impact on the world," said Provost Fred Akl, who as the former dean of the School of Engineering, knew Akins well. "He was a role model."

      Akins was also dedicated to service and outreach in the community outside Widener. Notably, he led efforts to begin the FIRST Tech Challenge program at Chester Upland High School. The robotics competition introduced students in grades 7 to 12 to practical engineering principles and assisted in the development of STEM skills. His work brought together many individuals from different disciplines and he was an inspiration to all.

      Akins and his wife, Nancy Potter, were parents of two young sons. His family has arranged a memorial mass on Friday, March 2 at 1 p.m. in Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, 200 Windsor Ave., Haddonfield, New Jersey. The family will receive friends following the mass and the interment will be private.

      Widener will provide transportation for students, faculty and staff who wish to attend the mass on Friday. The shuttle will board at 11:40 a.m. Friday, March 2 at the 15th and Walnut Street entrance to Wolfgram Memorial Library. It will depart at noon and is expected to arrive at the church around 12:30 p.m.

      The shuttle will depart for the return trip to Widener between 2:30 and 3 p.m., in order to allow attendees to pay their respects to the family following the service. It should arrive back at Widener between 3 and 3:30 p.m.

      Members of the Widener community who will attend the Mass are asked to please let us know, for planning purposes.


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