Celebrating Faculty Excellence

Oct 30 2014 | Photos: David Dini

At this year’s Faculty Excellence Celebration, Columbia Engineering honored more than 65 faculty, including Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, The Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Medical Sciences (in Medicine), who was elected to the Institute of Medicine, and seven faculty members who have recently been named to endowed chairs.

At the annual event, held October 27 at Casa Italiana, Dean Mary C. Boyce underscored the impact that the faculty’s remarkable achievements has on recruiting leading scholars and educators. “Talent attracts talent,” she said, “and so it is with great pride that I am able to publicly recognize your accomplishments, and thank you for contributing these talents to the increasing excellence and impact of Columbia Engineering.”

In his remarks, Executive Vice President for Research Michael Purdy congratulated Engineering faculty for their awards and prizes, and stressed the importance of faculty appreciation. “We should celebrate our successes more often,” he said.

Of the seven named professorships, four are newly endowed. Maria Chudnovsky, an expert in graph theory and a 2012 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, was named the Liu Family Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. Ming Chung Liu and Yin Zhang P’09, founders of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings, Ltd., the largest producer of containerboard products in China, endowed the Liu Family Professorship.

James Hone, an innovative researcher and scholar whose work has led to significant breakthroughs in atomically thin two-dimensional materials, was named the inaugural Wang Fong-Jen Professor of Mechanical Engineering. This professorship was established by entrepreneur Dr. Fermi Wang PhD’91 in honor of his late brother, who earned his MS, MPhil, and PhD in mechanical engineering at Columbia.

Kam W. Leong, a leading international authority on understanding the mechanism of cellular interaction with nanomaterials for drug delivery and regenerative medicine, was named the inaugural Samuel Y. Sheng Professor of Biomedical Engineering. The chair was establish by his daughter, Jean Sheng-Larkin, son, Kent Sheng, and daughter-in-law, Lauren Wong Sheng BS’76 in memory of Mr. Sheng ’51, a distinguished chemical engineer who graduated from Columbia’s master’s program in industrial chemistry.

Kenneth L. Shepard, who holds joint appointments as professor of biomedical engineering and of electrical engineering, was named the Lau Family Professor of Electrical Engineering. Shepard is a pioneer in developing systems and applications based on heterogeneously integrating new devices and materials with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor  technology. The Lau Family Professorship was established by Lee and Margaret Lau P’10, ’11CC. Mr. Lau is a partner and cofounder of Alignvest and founder of ATI Technologies.

Steven M. Bellovin, one of the world’s leading researchers in computer networks, cybersecurity, and privacy, is now the Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer Science.  The Hudson chair was established by Mr. Hudson, a descendent of Henry Hudson, who graduated from Columbia School of Mines in 1899.

Qiang Du, an applied and computational mathematician internationally recognized as one of the world's leading researchers in the study of Ginzburg-Landau theory, was named The Fu Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics. This professorship was established by the late Z.Y. Fu.

Yannis Tsividis, a leader in the development of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits across a variety of platforms, was named Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Electrical Engineering. The Armstrong Professorship was endowed in part by Mrs. Marion Armstrongto honor her husband, a member of the Class of 1913, who was the inventor of FM radio among many other advances in radio technology, and faculty member.

Two faculty members were cited as recipients of singular honors from professional societies. Van C. Mow, Stanley Dicker Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Orthopaedic Engineering in Orthopaedic Surgery was honored as the recipient of the 2014 ASME Medal awarded by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in recognition of eminently distinguished engineering achievement. The American Society of Civil Engineers has established a medal in honor of Masanobu Shinozuka, professor of civil engineering and engineering mechanics. The Masanobu Shinozuka Medal will honor an individual for outstanding research contributions in stochastic systems with applications to several branches of civil engineering.

Eight faculty members were honored for receiving early career awards, including Matei Ciocarlie, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Roxana Geambasu, assistant professor of computer science; Pierre Gentine, assistant professor of earth and environmental engineering; Vineet Goyal, assistant professor of industrial engineering and operations research; Christine Hendon, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Harish Krishnaswamy, assistant professor of electrical engineering; Javad Lavaei, assistant professor of electrical engineering; and Qi Wang, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

In addition, 12 professors were elected to professional societies, 24 professors received recognition or achievement awards, and 18 professors were honored for their scholarly leadership.