Rutgers Names Thomas Farris Dean of the School of Engineering

Rutgers Names Thomas Farris Dean of the School of Engineering

Farris oversaw doubling of Purdue Aeronautics and Astronautics School enrollment; managed key government grants and industrial research programs

Rutgers University has appointed Thomas Farris, currently
head of Purdue University’s
School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as dean of
the Rutgers School of Engineering. He replaces Michael Klein, who has returned
to teaching and research.

Farris photo
Thomas N. Farris

Farris brings 23 years of academic experience in Purdue’s College of Engineering, one of the nation’s top
engineering programs, to his new position. As head of aeronautics and
astronautics since 1998, he presided over growth that more than doubled
undergraduate and graduate student enrollment. The school last year awarded
more undergraduate degrees to women than any of its peer aerospace programs
and, under Farris’ leadership, has increased the number of women on its faculty
from one to five.

 “Thomas Farris has
impressive academic credentials as a scholar and teacher, and an excellent
track record of leadership and service at Purdue,” said Richard L. McCormick,
president of Rutgers
University. “His
expertise, enthusiasm and energy make him the ideal person to move the Rutgers
School of Engineering forward. We have ambitious goals for the school, and
under Tom's leadership we expect it to grow in size and stature, increasing its
enrollments and research funding, strengthening its ties with industry and
expanding its contributions to the state of New Jersey.”

Farris’ research and professional contributions have been
recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and several professional
engineering societies. He served as co-principal investigator for an NSF Engineering
Research Center
in collaborative manufacturing in the 1990s. He later led a research team as
part of an Air Force-sponsored metal fatigue project and was the only academic
team leader among researchers from leading industrial and engineering firms.

His academic achievements include advising 22 engineers who
completed doctoral degrees in engineering and receiving his school’s
outstanding undergraduate teacher award in 2008. He increased fundraising for
the school from $1 million to $3 million annually and established an
outstanding aerospace engineer alumni recognition program. Members of this
program provided the bulk of the school’s fundraising for the Neil Armstrong
Hall of Engineering, dedicated in 2007 and named after the astronaut and Purdue
alumnus who was the first person to walk on the moon.

At Rutgers, Farris will apply his experience toward
enhancing engineering teaching and research, increasing minority and female
student and faculty representation, and developing closer ties with New Jersey’s engineering
companies to increase sponsored research and student internships. He also will
work to increase federal research funding and donor gifts.

“I am honored by this appointment and excited about the
opportunity to work with the outstanding school faculty and staff as well as
the administration to make Rutgers engineering
the best that it can be,” Farris said. “Together we will provide the
world-class student body the best possible educational and research experiences
and engage Rutgers engineering constituents within New Jersey and beyond.”

Instruction in engineering began at Rutgers in 1864, when
the state of New Jersey designated the Rutgers Scientific
School as the “State
College for the Benefit of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.” The
present School of
Engineering became a
separate entity in 1914. It has departments that cover aerospace, biochemical,
biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, industrial,
materials, mechanical and systems engineering.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey, is America’s
eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier
public research universities.  Serving
more than 50,000 students on campuses in Camden,
Newark and New Brunswick,
Rutgers offers more than 280 bachelor’s,
master’s, doctoral and professional degree programs. The university is home to
27 degree-granting schools and colleges, and more than 150 specialized centers
and institutes.

Media Contact: Carl Blesch
732-932-7084 x616
E-mail: cblesch@ur.rutgers.edu