sealPurdue News

August 23, 2002

Purdue engineering dean reorganizes office

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's engineering dean has reorganized her office into several new sections to better serve the university's research and educational needs.

"We have restructured the office so that it can respond better to our goals, as defined by the Purdue president's strategic plan and our own strategic plan in the Schools of Engineering," said Linda Katehi, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering at Purdue and a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Under the new structure, which took effect Aug. 1, four associate deans will be assigned new roles within the dean's office. The new structure includes the following key personnel:

• Jay Gore, the Vincent P. Reilly Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering, has been named associate dean for research and entrepreneurship. Gore is an internationally recognized research engineer whose specialties include the study of combustion and heat radiation, with applications in pollution reduction, furnace efficiency and fire safety. He has led a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers developing new types of sensors that offer promising applications in food safety and medical diagnostics. He received the 1987 Best Paper in Heat Transfer Literature Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1991 from the National Science Foundation. In 1998 he received faculty fellowships from the Japanese Ministry of Education and the U. S. Department of Energy. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1982 and 1986, respectively, and has authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed research papers and 150 conference papers.

• Larry Huggins, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering, has been named associate dean for academic affairs. Huggins has been an associate dean of engineering since 1994 and he was head of the Department of Agricultural Engineering from 1981 to 1994. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois in 1960 and 1962, respectively. He came to Purdue in 1961 as an instructor and earned a doctoral degree from Purdue in 1966. He has developed innovative mathematical simulations for research in hydrology, and he has created nationally recognized techniques for real-time computer control of experiments and remote data acquisition systems. In 1993, he was one of the first college faculty to fully replace class lectures with Web-based material using the then-new graphical browsers that gave birth to today's widespread Internet services. A Fulbright-Hayes Senior Research Fellow to Australia, he has served as president of the A.A. Potter Chapter of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers and, in 1999-2000, as the national president of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

• Assistant Dean Klod Kokini, a professor of mechanical engineering, will lead efforts to increase diversity within the Schools of Engineering. Katehi has stressed that she is committed to increasing the number of minorities and women in key faculty and staff positions. Kokini was named assistant dean Feb. 15 and has been on the Purdue faculty since 1985. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1976 from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, and master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University, in 1978 and 1982, respectively. Kokini has written numerous articles, including 45 papers published in peer-reviewed research journals, and he holds three U.S. patents. His research includes the study of advanced high-temperature materials such as coatings for jet engines. Specifically, his work examines how materials break and precisely how tiny cracks affect the performance of heat-resistant coatings. He also is involved in interdisciplinary research to learn how living cells and collagen respond in real time to mechanical stresses – information that will be critical for designing replacement body parts and special grafts for healing damaged tissues. The work is taking scientists closer to understanding the precise mechanisms behind the old maxim, "use it or lose it." Placing stress on muscles, bones and other tissues promotes cell growth and increased strength. On the other hand, the reduced-gravity environment of space causes just the opposite reaction – a reduction of tissue mass and strength.

• Carolyn A. Percifield will head the new Office of Engineering Advancement. The office will oversee efforts and activities in the areas of development, marketing and communications, alumni relations, and special events. Percifield joined the dean’s office in 1991 as assistant director of corporate relations and was promoted in 1996 to director of development. She was named director of advancement in February. She has worked with a team to raise nearly $70 million during Purdue's Vision 21 campaign, which ended in 1994 and increased average annual giving from $7 million in 1991 to the most recent high of nearly $75 million in 2002. Percifield earned a bachelor's degree in visual design from Wittenberg University and a master's degree in finance and strategic management from Purdue.

• P. Suresh C. Rao, the Lee A. Rieth Distinguished Professor in the School of Civil Engineering, has been named associate dean for graduate education and interdisciplinary programs. Purdue's graduate programs already rank among the best in the nation, according to recent surveys by U.S. News & World Report magazine. The magazine ranked six of Purdue's graduate-level engineering programs among the top 10 in the nation, and the university's undergraduate engineering programs were ranked seventh overall. Rao holds a joint appointment in the agronomy department within the School of Agriculture. He was one of four Purdue faculty members recognized in 2001 by the Institute for Scientific Information for being among the most-cited researchers worldwide. His research includes work to develop innovative technologies for characterization of hazardous waste sites and for enhanced cleanup of contaminated soils and aquifers. He has received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the impacts of land uses on surface-water quality and the environmental behavior of animal pharmaceuticals in soils and water. Additional funding from the EPA will allow for research to monitor several watersheds in Indiana, in collaboration with state and federal agencies. His research has been documented in more than 250 refereed publications, book chapters, technical reports and conference proceedings. His work also has led to two U.S. patents for new approaches to subsurface characterization at contaminated sites. Rao came to Purdue in 1999 after 24 years at the University of Florida, where he now holds an appointment as emeritus graduate research professor. Rao earned a bachelor's degree from India's Agricultural University in 1967, a master's degree in 1970 from Colorado State University and a doctorate from the University of Hawaii in 1974.

• Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, head of the Department of Freshman Engineering and a professor of chemical engineering, has been named associate dean for undergraduate education. Sinclair earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Purdue in 1983, and master's and doctoral degrees from Princeton University in 1985 and 1989, respectively. She has won various awards and honors, including a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1991 and a college research award from Carnegie Mellon University, where she previously served on the faculty. Curtis' work includes research in computational fluid dynamics; she creates computer models to improve how catalytic particles mix with gases in chemical reactions. The mixing is vital to a wide range of industrial processes, such as making products from crude oil. Her models are now being used in the chemical industry. As head of freshman engineering, she oversees programs to help students successfully negotiate the first year of an engineering education. Curtis designed an undergraduate computational laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, procured National Science Foundation and Dreyfus Foundation funding and helped facilitate the use of computers in chemical engineering courses.

• Patricia A. Grams has been named senior financial affairs manager. Grams earned a bachelor's degree in management, with an emphasis in accounting, from Purdue's Krannert School of Management in 1981, the same year she became a university employee. Grams began her career in the Office of Contracts and Grants, which is now known as Sponsored Programs. She later joined the business office staff in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and has worked for the Schools of Engineering since 1984.

• Sharon K. Whitlock will continue in her role as assistant to the dean. She attended Purdue, majoring in organizational leadership and supervision. She has been employed by the university since 1976, spending her entire career as a staff member in the Schools of Engineering. In 1999 she was appointed to the Administrative Professional Staff Advisory Committee and served as chair of that group from 2001 to 2002. She joined the dean's office in July 2001.

Warren Stevenson left his position as associate dean for graduate education and research, effective Aug. 1, and will remain a professor of mechanical engineering. Stevenson, who has served in the dean's office since 1992, was in charge of the master plan of the Schools of Engineering, and he will continue aiding the dean's office in planning new facilities.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709,

Source: Linda P. Katehi, (734) 647-7020,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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