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Lutchen chosen as ENG dean

New leader plans for BU’s “global impact”

Kenneth Lutchen, new dean of the College of Engineering

Biomedical engineering department chairman Kenneth Lutchen — called “an inspiring leader” and “a dedicated and creative educator” by Provost David Campbell — has been selected as the new dean of the College of Engineering. President Robert A. Brown announced the appointment to the ENG faculty on Wednesday, July 12.

“As chair of the department of biomedical engineering, he has demonstrated the vision, creativity, and drive needed to lead in a world-class academic research environment,” Brown says. “With Ken’s leadership, engineering at Boston University is well positioned to increase in quality and visibility in the years ahead.”
Solomon Eisenberg, a professor of biomedical engineering, had been serving as dean ad interim since fall 2005.

Lutchen joined the University’s faculty in 1984 and became department chair in 1998; he has developed a significant list of accomplishments during his tenure at ENG, most recently helping the biomedical engineering department obtain a $2.9 million Translational Partnership Award from the Coulter Foundation, designed to help bridge the gap between biomedical engineering and patient care. He was the principal investigator and chief architect of 2001’s $14 million Leadership Award from the Whitaker Foundation, used in part to construct the Life Science and Engineering Building on Cummington Street. Boston University was one of only three institutions to receive a Whitaker award and is the only one that received both Whitaker and Coulter grants.

In addition, under Lutchen’s leadership the department jumped from 18th to 7th in the US News & World Report rankings of biomedical engineering departments nationally.

“He has demonstrated all the characteristics of an outstanding academic leader,” says Campbell, the former ENG dean, “and President Brown and I are confident that he is the right choice to take the College of Engineering at Boston University to still higher levels of excellence.”

Lutchen earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory before coming to BU. An expert in pulmonary physiology, he has written 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and has advanced methods for probing the structure-function relations governing lung disease. He has received both the ENG Professor of the Year Award and the Biomedical Engineering Professor of the Year Award.

“The College of Engineering has embraced a culture of a cross-disciplinary, team-oriented approach to research and education,” Lutchen says. “What excites me most is the opportunity to develop this culture, and our faculty, so that Boston University can have an important global impact in engineering education and new research.”

He is most proud, he says, of “the quality of the faculty that we have been able to put together” at ENG and hopes to continue to “integrate engineering throughout so many other units at BU.”

Lutchen lives in Brookline with his wife, Gayle, who is the assistant director for administration at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. He has four children, two of whom are BU undergraduates.