David Campbell Named Dean of BU College of Engineering Distinguished Physicist to Lead College into the New Millennium

in College of Engineering, News Releases, Science & Technology, University Affairs
February 10th, 2000

Contact: Kevin Carleton, 617/353-2240 | carleton@bu.edu

(Boston, Mass.) — David Campbell, currently professor and chairman of the physics department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has been named dean of the Boston University College of Engineering beginning September 2000. Campbell is a prominent physicist who is well known for his work in the emerging field of nonlinear science.

His appointment follows a national search that began last year when Charles DeLisi announced he was stepping down as dean to return to full-time teaching and research. DeLisi recently was named the first Arthur G.B. Metcalf Professor of Engineering.

“Dr. Campbell is a distinguished researcher and an accomplished leader at the University of Illinois,” says Dennis Berkey, BU provost and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He will build vigorously on the impressive growth that occurred at the college under Dean DeLisi.”

Prior to joining the University of Illinois in 1992, Campbell was director of the Center for Nonlinear Studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. A California native, he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard in 1966, a Part III Mathematics Tripos, with distinction, from Cambridge University in 1967, and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics and applied mathematics from Cambridge in 1970. Over the years, he has received fellowships from a number of institutions, including the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is founding editor of the journal CHAOS.

While he has contributed to many subfields of physics, Campbell is best known for his accomplishments in nonlinear science, a field that seeks to provide a better understanding of the complex behavior exhibited by many of the fundamental processes of nature. Much of his work has focused on the study of nonlinear phenomena at the atomic and subatomic level in novel materials, such as semiconductors, conducting polymers, and superconductors.

The incoming dean already has begun discussing plans for new programs and faculty recruitment with the four College of Engineering department chairmen. “We’re all very excited about these plans and look forward to having him guide the continuing expansion of the College of Engineering,” Berkey says. “Besides being a strong researcher, Dr. Campbell also has demonstrated a clear understanding of curriculum and undergraduate education.”

Campbell arrives at the college during a period of unprecedented growth. During DeLisi’s nine-year tenure as dean, Engineering established a number of new centers, including the Photonics Center, the Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation, and the Center for Advanced Biotechnology. Also under DeLisi’s stewardship, research funding rose by 369 percent to more than $18 million annually. He recruited senior researchers and junior faculty from such institutions as MIT and Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and Harvard universities. In addition, SAT scores for entering freshmen rose by 80 points, and the combined GRE scores for entering doctoral students surpassed 1450.

Enrollment also has risen significantly, with ENG awarding 63 percent of its 2,663 master’s degrees within the last nine years. In an increasingly diverse student body, the number of women in the Ph.D. program increased from 8 to 23 percent (compared to a national average of 15 percent), and more than 29 percent of ENG students are members of ethnic minorities.

The Boston University College of Engineering draws on the strengths of the entire university to educate engineers for success in an inherently interdisciplinary world in which engineering concepts play a vital role in understanding biological and environmental systems as well as such fields as information technology, telecommunications, aerospace and manufacturing. It includes departments in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Manufacturing.

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