Stenger Named Engineering Dean at University at Buffalo

By Arthur Page

Release Date: May 15, 2006

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Harvey G. Stenger, Jr., has been named dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Harvey G. Stenger, Jr., Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering and former dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University, has been named dean of the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Stenger's appointment, effective Aug. 1, was announced today by UB President John B. Simpson and Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

A chemical engineer who earned his doctorate at MIT, he will succeed Mark H. Karwan, Ph.D., who announced a year ago that he was stepping down as dean to return to the faculty of the school as a researcher and teacher.

Stenger was one of four finalists from a national applicant field who were invited to campus for interviews in April.

Simpson said Stenger's candidacy "stood out, even among the truly outstanding pool of candidates we were fortunate to attract during the nationwide search. Not only is he an accomplished scholar and faculty member who already has distinguished himself in his field, but he also is a seasoned academic administrator who has considerable experience in leading a prominent engineering program."

"It's clear that his leadership in this capacity has been characterized by a strong commitment to innovation, research excellence and curricular rigor, as well as great success in forging strong and dynamic partnerships with business and industry -- all of the essential elements that have built our School of Engineering and Applied Sciences into a thriving and nationally renowned program," Simpson added.

Tripathi noted that as a professor and former dean, Stenger "is known among his colleagues and students to be an innovative researcher, caring mentor and dynamic teacher. Combining his professional experiences, progressive knowledge of the field of engineering, and collegial and participatory leadership approach, I have every confidence that he will capably chart a course to move the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences into the top national tier."

Stenger said he sought the deanship because of the UB engineering school's "reputation as a world-class research institution with outstanding undergraduate and graduate education programs." He noted that the school has potential "to climb rapidly in the national rankings."

He said that while specific goals for the school will be set in consultation with its stakeholders, his vision for the school of engineering is that "every UB engineering student has a rewarding experience that positively influences their life, that every faculty member achieves their personal and professional goals and that every staff member has a long and fulfilling career. Every alumnus should continuously feel proud of their alma mater. Every constituent -- parents, legislators, community members, corporate partners -- should enjoy, benefit and profit from their relationship with UB."

A native of Auburn, Stenger lived briefly as a child on Grand Island and grew up in Skaneateles near Syracuse. As an engineering student at Cornell University, he had two co-op assignments with the Linde Division of Union Carbide, now Praxair, Inc.

"Being a past Central New Yorker -- and even for two years a Western New Yorker -- I am anxious to re-experience the people, the climate, the geography and the culture," Stenger said. "Go Sabres!"

Alexander N. Cartwright, UB professor of electrical engineering, was chair of the search committee.

Cartwright said that Stenger "has a good understanding of the existing strengths within engineering at UB. He was able to clearly describe a vision for the future of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences focusing on research excellence that will translate into excellence in education and community outreach.

"Harvey is a team builder and definitely will help UB as we strive to move forward with the UB 2020 initiative," Cartwright added. "More importantly, he already has demonstrated the ability to build inter-institutional teams that can successfully compete for major federally funded research centers."

Stenger has been affiliated with Lehigh University since joining the faculty as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1984 after earning his doctorate. He was promoted to associate professor in 1988, named co-chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1989 and appointed professor and director of the university's Environmental Studies Center in 1991. Stenger was named associate dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1992 and dean of the college a year later. He served as dean from 1993 until stepping down in 1999 and returning to the faculty as a professor.

Among Stenger's accomplishments as dean was working with Lehigh's advancement office to secure a $27.5 million gift from Lehigh alumnus Peter C. Rossin to name the college.

Under his leadership, the college established an award-winning Integrated Product Development Program, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Alliance, the Andersen Faculty Fellows Program and the Dean's Scholar Program for exceptional undergraduates. Freshman engineering courses were revamped, the cooperative education program was expanded and ties with key corporate partners were strengthened.

Stenger received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1979 and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983.

His work as a faculty member has been recognized at Lehigh with awards including University Teacher of the Year and University Graduate Advisor of the Year. He is a three-time recipient of the College Teacher of the Year award. He also is a past president of the Association of Engineering Colleges of Pennsylvania.

Stenger has been investigator or co-investigator on 27 research grants and contracts, and has authored or co-authored more than 60 scientific articles. His research focuses on reacting heterogeneous systems, including work in natural products processing, semiconductor materials manufacturing, emission control processes and synthetic fuels research.