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In Memoriam: John Currier

Jul 01, 2022

John Currier ’79 Th’81 | 1957-2021
Orthopedics work impacted millions of patients.

John Currier ’79 Th’81 (Photo by Doug Fraser)

Currier, a longtime research engineer at Thayer School, died of cancer November 15, 2021, at the age of 64. At Dartmouth he competed on the cross-country and track-and-field teams, participated in student workshops, and earned his AB in engineering sciences and BE and MS in engineering, studying ice properties under Professor Erland Schulson.

Currier worked for 12 years in research and project planning for a petroleum company before returning to Dartmouth in 1994 to join the Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center for Orthopaedics. There, he studied polyethylene bearings in hip and knee prostheses, work that has helped improve the lives of millions of artificial joint patients.

But Currier may be most well-known for his role in the development of Mobile Virtual Player (MVP), the revolutionary virtual tackling dummy that has helped make football safer. In 2016 he cofounded what became MVP Robotics with Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens ’79 and two former engineering students. The MVP, memorably featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, is now used widely by teams across the NFL and college football and in the military.

“A central ethic of Thayer is that our value should be measured by the number of lives we’ve touched,” says Professor Douglas Van Citters ’99 Th’03 Th’06. “Consider this wisdom in the context of John’s 25-plus years of selfless work with many hundreds of engineering students … family and friends.” Dean Alexis Abramson echoes that thought: “For those of us who worked with him, John was more than a colleague. He was a beloved friend.”

Currier—who is survived by Barbara, a senior research engineer at Thayer, and children Zachary Th’12 and Katherine—had recently returned to his childhood home in Danville, Vt. “We have moved to the family farm, where I grew up …. Life’s a circle, after all. I still work at Thayer School and also at MVP Robotics. Now I get to add farming. Better to burn out than rust out!”

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of the Dartmouth Engineer magazine.

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