Southern Illinois University



December 08, 2014


It is with great excitement that the SIU Carbondale College of Engineering revives the long-dormant newsletter “Vector.” Our plan is to distribute Vector once per semester to our 14,500 alumni (of more than 20,000 worldwide) with known email addresses via an email “push,” with issues also archived on the college’s website. We hope this will provide you interesting information about events within the college in an appealing format.

While I have now served as a faculty member in higher education for more than 30 years, I am only halfway through my fourth year of service as dean. I started my teaching career in 1977 when I was asked to teach an undergraduate Fortran class at Lehigh University, where I was working on my master of science degree in civil engineering. I continued teaching as an instructor during my doctoral work in environmental engineering at Penn State University. My first faculty position was at the University of Texas at Dallas, then I was off to University of Nevada, Reno (director, graduate program of hydrologic sciences), University of Florida (chair, Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences), and then the Desert Research Institute (director, division of hydrologic sciences). My desire to re-engage with undergraduates was a principal driver for my joining SIU Carbondale as dean, along with my personal alignment with SIU’s long history in reaching out to first-generation students such as myself.

Engaging our undergraduates has been truly inspiring for me. I read an old edition of Vector (summer 1993) that featured an article celebrating Margaret O’Boyle (civil engineering, 1993) as the Lincoln Laureate (the most prestigious honor bestowed to undergraduates in the state of Illinois). While my personal research is likely by no means complete, Toni Whitfield (civil engineering, 2010) also was named Lincoln Laureate by attaining outstanding academic achievements coupled with being a member of the university track and field and cross-country teams. Last year, I had the pleasure of experiencing another College of Engineering undergraduate student, Eileen Schweiss (mechanical engineering, 2014), winning this highest honor. Like her predecessor, Schweiss combined outstanding academic achievement with serving on the university track and field and cross-country teams. She currently is pursuing a master’s degree at Sheffield-Hallam University, England.

I wish there was time (and space) for me to talk more about many other outstanding students and faculty here at SIU Carbondale, but something must be left for the future. Please visit our college website to stay abreast of our many activities and accomplishments. More to come in the summer issue. GO DAWGS!!!