Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The fall term is in full swing, and I’d like to update you on some outstanding news from the NERS department.
First, the Regents of the University of Michigan have approved the Glenn F. and Gladys H. Knoll Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. This endowed Chairmanship was made possible by a generous gift from Gladys Hetzner Knoll, commemorating her late husband Glenn F. Knoll’s nearly 60-year career as dean, department chair and professor in the UM College of Engineering.
I would like to welcome our new professor, Won Sik Yang. Professor Yang will greatly expand the NERS department’s teaching and research capabilities in fast reactor design. It is also a pleasure to congratulate Annalisa Manera on her promotion to professor.
I’m thrilled to share that, after devoting much of the past seven years of my chairmanship to designing, fundraising and monitoring construction, the new Nuclear Engineering Laboratory (NEL) was completed this spring. In April, a standing-room-only crowd of over 140 celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting and dedication.
It has been an honor to lead this project and bring the vision to fruition. The NEL represents the collaboration of many incredibly talented and generous individuals and now houses some of the world’s finest nuclear research facilities, including the Glenn F. Knoll Nuclear Measurements Laboratory. Faculty have moved into their new lab spaces, while students have quickly begun making good use of the John S. King Student Collaboratory for studying, working on team projects, and holding organizational meetings.
The Department’s externally-sponsored and internal research has climbed to an all-time high, tripling to $24 million over the past 10 years, and we have hired seven of the country’s best faculty in as many years. Our graduates are the leaders and best in the nuclear field, with Michigan NERS alumni playing key roles at national laboratories and in industry and academia. Our faculty and students continue to win many College, national and international awards and honors in recognition of their fine work.
During my tenure as department chair, it has been a distinct privilege to serve NERS alumni, faculty, staff and, particularly, students. The current academic year will be my last as chair, and I will step down on August 31, 2018, following a successful College search for my successor.
While I share this news with a heavy heart, I’d only be telling half the story if I didn’t also say that I’m very much looking forward to returning to my professorial position and my laboratory, where I can resume one of my greatest joys: working with students.
To find the next NERS department chair, Dean Gallimore has announced the formation of a search committee: Professors Zhong He (committee chair), John Foster, Kimberlee Kearfott, Brian Kiedrowski, Lumin Wang, Duncan Steel (Electrical and Computer Engineering, outside member) and James Duderstadt (advisory member). Please feel free to contact Professor He or another member of the committee if you would like to nominate potential candidates.
I offer my sincere thanks for everything you do to support the Department. Our NERS alumni continue to achieve amazing accomplishments nationally and internationally. The Honorable NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki has been awarded the College of Engineering Alumni Medal; Geoff West has won the College of Engineering Outstanding Recent Alumni Award; and Professor Jong Kyung Kim has been named the NERS Alumni Merit Award recipient.
The NERS community – and it is a community – represents one reason we’ve been recognized as a top graduate nuclear engineering program by U.S. News and World Report for many years.
Wishing you a successful academic year,
Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences