A commitment to CWRU: Longtime Case School of Engineering employees retire after 30+ years

When members of the Case Western Reserve community are asked what their favorite thing is about the university, there’s one nearly universal response: the people. 

For some, our campus serves as their professional home for significant portions of their lives—and their efforts are essential to advancing CWRU’s mission. Earlier this summer, we put out a call to staff and faculty members who were retiring after 30+ years of service to Case Western Reserve, and two key members of Case School of Engineering shared their stories. 

Learn more about Ann Boughner and Jim McGuffin-Cawley, two people who have made Case School of Engineering a great place to work and study.

Ann Boughner

41 years

Since its establishment in 1992, Case School of Engineering has housed countless advancements and achievements—and Ann Boughner has been there each step of the way. 

As one of the school’s first employees, Boughner brought nearly a decade of experience at Case Western Reserve to her role. She joined the university in 1983 in the Office of University Development before serving both Western Reserve College and Case Institute of Technology in various positions, ultimately joining the engineering school as assistant director of the Office of Administration and Finance. 

From there, Boughner quickly became a key member of the community, later serving as director of human resources and leadership development and, most recently, as assistant dean of human resources and faculty affairs—the position from which she’s retiring after a decades-long career. 

“Ann has had an incredible impact, directly contributing to the hiring and professional progression of every member of our community,” said Ragu Balakrishnan, the Charles H. Phipps Dean at Case School of Engineering, who called Boughner one of his most trusted advisors. “Her depth of knowledge and institutional memory are unparalleled—and irreplaceable.” 

While her professional endeavors brought her many accomplishments over the years—including earning her Master of Business Administration from Weatherhead School of Management—Boughner most cherishes the relationships she’s formed. 

“I’ve worked with many wonderful people over the years and have many great memories,” she said. 

Among those people? Boughner’s husband, Chung-Chiun (CC) Liu, a faculty member who retired in 2022 after more than 40 years of service. Known by many as “cornerstone members of the engineering community,” the couple regularly supported the school through attendance at events.

“It has been exciting to see the investments that have been made in hiring new faculty and staff in recent years,” Boughner said. 

Looking ahead, Boughner is eager to embrace her free time—however that looks. 

“I love to travel but have been fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling so far in my life,” she said. “I’m looking forward to reading, working in my garden, going for walks in the neighborhood, etc.” 

Jim McGuffin-Cawley

33 years

For the better part of four decades, Jim McGuffin-Cawley has been involved with Case Western Reserve. He first joined the university as a PhD student, earning his doctoral degree in ceramic science in 1984 before launching his career with NASA and serving on the faculty at The Ohio State University. By 1991, he returned to CWRU—and he’s been a key figure at Case School of Engineering in the 33 years since.

Last month, McGuffin-Cawley, the Arthur Holden Professor of Engineering, retired from CWRU, but not before making a lasting impact through several administrative roles that positioned him to help shape the institution’s future.

Most recently, McGuffin-Cawley has been the faculty director of Sears think[box] since July 2020. In that role, he facilitated the purchase of equipment that better served those in the humanities and creative fields. 

His other roles have included university marshal; associate dean of academics, associate dean of research and senior associate dean of Case School of Engineering; and chair of the Department of Materials Science. At the school level, he reformed the materials science department’s curriculum and facilitated industry partnerships—just a few more of his many accomplishments.

McGuffin-Cawley readily stepped up when needed, serving as interim dean of the engineering school and as interim vice president of research and technology management during his time at the university.

These roles are among McGuffin-Cawley’s proudest accomplishments.

“This afforded the opportunity to create opportunities for others and new capacities for parts of the university,” he said.

As a researcher, McGuffin-Cawley’s work was in high chemistry, solid-state reaction, and development of novel processing strategies for inorganic materials—metals and engineering ceramics.

After serving in a wide-range of capacities at CWRU, McGuffin-Cawley can’t pick just one fond memory. Instead, he said the most rewarding part of his career were the “professional relationships with talented students and colleagues.”