CEAS Alumnus Major General Lutz Inducted into US ROTC Hall of Fame

By: Ashley Duvelius
Date: June 17, 2016

UC College of Engineering and Applied Science ’73 electrical engineering alumnus, Major General (Ret) Dennis Lutz, was recently inducted into the US Army Cadet Command ROTC Hall of Fame and was recognized at a ceremony in Fort Knox, KY on June 10, 2016.

Major General Lutz

“I chose to study electrical engineering because I thought the world would eventually be dominated by computers and sensors—which were not that common back then in the 60’s!” reflects Major General (Ret) Dennis Lutz, ’73 EE alumnus.

Now, nearly five decades after the first-generation college student enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, Lutz can say he has truly seen it all—from watching his prediction of the prominent digital age come true to witnessing the perils of war firsthand to travelling the journey of parenthood. In honor of these accomplishments and his service to our country and his community, Lutz was officially inducted into the US Army Cadet Command (USACC) ROTC Hall Fame at a ceremony in Fort Knox, KY on June 10, 2016.

Lutz came to the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) in 1968 with a strong determination to succeed as he was the first member of his family to ever go to college. Commuting from his hometown of Forest Park, he was in classes by day and worked at night in order to support himself through school. Lutz was a cadet in the UC ROTC program throughout his five-year tenure at the university (1968-1973), during which the perfect storm of classes, cooperative education (“co-op”), and social life quickly taught him the vast importance of proper time management. Lutz also met his wife at UC, Helen Brys Lutz, who was earning her bachelor’s degree at the College of Nursing, and they married in 1973 during his senior year.

Lutz chuckles, “One thing college does to you is it forces you to grow up and be thankful for things.  I met my wife, fell in love, married, graduated, and went into the Army.”

Upon graduation from UC, Lutz went to a six-week summer camp and at the end of which, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.  Normally, ROTC cadets go through this summer camp at the end of their junior year, but Lutz had to postpone his doing so due to his engineering co-op rotations. As a Lieutenant, he went on active duty in the Army from September 1973 through November 1976. 

In 1977, with the help of the GI Bill, Lutz began graduate school at Xavier University and graduated in 1978 with his MBA.  Shortly thereafter, he was recruited by a small chemical company who was looking for an individual with a pairing that was rather unheard of at the time—an engineer with an MBA. Lutz accepted the position of Plant Engineer and he and his wife moved to Rochester, NY. Six months later, he was promoted to Plant Manager and continued with the company for 2.5 years before working for the Eastman Kodak Company as an Electrical Manufacturing Engineer. 

Helen & Dennis Lutz on their wedding day, March 31, 1973.

Helen & Dennis Lutz on their wedding day, March 31, 1973.

Lutz worked at Kodak for 26 years, serving as a manufacturing department head and the design and development department head for the division that designed and brought to market digital cameras. At one point in his Kodak career, he ran a small business for Kodak that did $31 million dollars in sales a year. However, Lutz gave up this position to become the development manager for digital cameras. 

Also during this time, Lutz continued to serve in the Army Reserve and had many command and staff assignments.  He was promoted to Brigadier General in 2002 and to Major General in 2005. Lutz was the only cadet from the UC ROTC program to ever be a Major General.

In 2005, he was mobilized and sent to Southwest Asia where he was responsible for Army Communications throughout the theaters of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Lutz’s headquarters was in Kuwait, where he wore many different hats for 15 months, managing several assignments simultaneously.

He explains, “I was the Commanding General of a Signal Command, simultaneously a senior staff officer on two Army Headquarters, and the Commanding General of a Reserve Organization still in the States. 

While I was there, I was offered a buy-out from Kodak (which was rapidly trying to shrink its way to success, also known as rightsizing).  When I returned, I was essentially in Command of all of the Army Reserve Signal and Chemical Assets as the Commanding General of the 335th Signal Command.” After courageously serving our country and our community for more than four decades, Lutz retired from the Army Reserve in September 2009.

Looking back on his lifetime of honor and achievements, Lutz emanates humility as he counts these among his proudest moments, “The birth of my three children; graduating from UC, Xavier, and the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MS in Electrical Engineering; graduating from the Army War College in 1999; marrying my wife; delivering a complex program on time and under budget; finishing a Marathon (I ran two of them in my life, not very fast but I still finished!); and watching all of my children grow up and become outstanding individuals.”

So what does one do after accomplishing so much in such a surprisingly short period of time? Lutz answers, “I may be happily retired but I still like to do several volunteer things for agencies like the Veterans Administration (driver), ESGR (Employer Support of Guard and Reserve, State Chairman), and ROA (Reserve Officers Association, State President).  My wife and I enjoy visiting our three children and seven grandchildren regularly. Oh, and my golf game is improving.  I also occasionally give speeches and when asked, I happily participate in ROTC events in the area.”

Lutz reflects, “I have lived a pretty blessed life.  Most of my friends at this time in life are people whom I met either at UC or in the Army, and I still keep in touch with many of them.  I still watch UC football and basketball games on the television.  Living in Rochester, NY, we are eight hours away from Cincinnati, and I don’t come into Cincinnati that often, but the University is still my home—I grew up there really.”

The College of Engineering and Applied Science thanks Major General Lutz for his outstanding service to the country and the community and congratulates him on his well-deserved induction into the USACC ROTC Hall of Fame.