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May 15, 2008

NSF administrator and University of Illinois engineer named Purdue VP for research

Richard O. Buckius
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Purdue President France A. Córdova on Thursday (May 15) announced that Richard O. Buckius, a University of Illinois engineer and administrator for the National Science Foundation, will be Purdue's next vice president for research.

Buckius will start his Purdue duties this summer or early in the fall semester after completing his appointment at NSF. He will succeed Charles O. Rutledge, who is retiring after leading Purdue's research programs since 2002.

Buckius, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is assistant director of the NSF's Directorate of Engineering and has a key role in setting the agenda for engineering research and education and overseeing NSF's more than $600 million engineering research and education budget.

Purdue's vice president for research is charged with assisting faculty and staff in their research efforts and leads research administration and oversight, research development and proposal preparation, funding opportunities, and private sector partnerships.

"Richard is an eminent scholar and a nationally admired and respected administrator," Córdova said. "He was selected after a rigorous national search. He brings dynamic leadership to Purdue's research initiatives.

"I am very pleased that Richard has joined the Purdue family, and I am grateful to our provost, Randy Woodson, and the search committee he led."

As vice president for research, Buckius will report to Córdova and be responsible for more than $420 million in projects (for fiscal year 2005-06, the latest year for which figures are available), including sponsored programs funded by federal grants, industry, foundations, state and local governments, and private sources.

Buckius has been leading the NSF's Directorate for Engineering since 2005 and has been on leave from the University of Illinois since 2004, when he became director of the NSF's Division of Chemical and Transport Systems. He was head of the university's Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from 1998-2004, the Richard W. Kritzer Professor from 1992-1997 and associate vice chancellor for research from 1988-1991.

"Purdue is poised to build on its legacy as a top research institution," Buckius said. "I look forward to leading the university's substantial research efforts and to working with the world-class scholars on the faculty."

Buckius received doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1975, 1973 and 1972, respectively.

He has received numerous awards, including the Richards Memorial Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in recognition of outstanding contributions to research and teaching in the thermal sciences; the Ralph Coats Roe Award from the American Society for Engineering Education in recognition of contributions to research and teaching; and the Potter Gold Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in recognition of eminent achievement in the science of thermodynamics in mechanical engineering.

Buckius' research contributions include his work to advance the fundamental knowledge in thermal sciences, specifically in the areas of radiation heat transfer, convective transport and combustion.

His appointment is subject to ratification by Purdue's board of trustees.

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

Sources: France A. Córdova, (765) 494-9708,

Richard O. Buckius, (217) 333-1079,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Buckius is pronounced buck-eye-us

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