Monday, August 31, 2020

Named professorships and chairs are among the highest university honors faculty members can receive. These positions also acknowledge generous donors who gifts support the research, teaching, and engagement of these faculty members. In July 2020, eight faculty members in the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa were recognized with such positions.

Dean Harriet Nembhard has been recognized as the Roy J. Carver Professor of Engineering by the University of Iowa Office of the Provost. Nembhard joined the college on June 29 from Oregon State University, where she was the Eric R. Smith Professor of Engineering and head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Her scholarship is in applied statistics and operations research and has taken a multidisciplinary approach to improve complex systems across manufacturing and healthcare.

This generous gift from Roy J. Carver, Sr., extends an impressive legacy of giving to the University of Iowa from the Carver family. Beginning with personal contributions from the Muscatine, Iowa, industrialist and philanthropist Roy J. Carver Sr., and his wife Lucille, this legacy has continued through support received from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, which was founded following Mr. Carver’s death in 1981. Through August 2020, more than $201 million in Carver funding has been awarded to the university in support of scholarships, professorships, research, athletics, and facilities. Read more about the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. 

Joseph Reinhardt, professor and departmental executive officer in the Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been named to the Roy J. Carver Chair of Biomedical Engineering. Reinhardt joined the department in 1997 and served as its chair from 2009 to 2016 and again since 2018. His areas of expertise include cardiopulmonary imaging and signal processing. Reinhardt has authored more than 200 conference and journal articles and is a fellow of AIMBE and IEEE.

The Roy J. Carver Chair in Biomedical Engineering is part of a $15 million gift the Carver Charitable Trust made to the department. Read more about the Carver Charitable Trust’s gift to the department.

David Cwiertny, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been named the William D. Ashton Professor of Civil Engineering. Cwiertny is the director of the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination and Environmental Policy Research Program within the UI Public Policy Center. He is an expert in wastewater treatment and reuse.

The professorship honors UI engineering graduate William Ashton of Davenport, Iowa.  The professorship was created by a major gift commitment from the Ashton Family Foundation in Dallas, Texas. Ashton received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from the UI in 1962 and 1963, respectively.  He founded Ashton Engineering Inc. in Davenport, Iowa, in 1982, and he is a member of the college's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy. Read more about William Ashton.

Jun Wang, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and assistant director of the Iowa Technology Institute, has been named to the James E. Ashton Professorship in Engineering. Wang, who joined the college in 2016, also holds appointments in physics and astronomy, civil and environmental engineering, and the interdisciplinary graduate programs in geo-informatics and applied math. He is an expert in the interaction between atmospheric composition and climate change and the impact of aerosols on air quality.

The professorship honors James E. Ashton, who received his BS in civil engineering from the UI in 1964 and went on to pursue advanced degrees from Harvard and MIT, earning a reputation as an expert in composite materials. He worked for General Dynamics for 15 years, rising to the role of vice president of engineering for the Electric Boat Division. He went on to lead several other companies, including his own consulting firm, Ashton and Associates. He is a member of the college’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Academy. Read more about James Ashton.

Pablo Carrica, professor of mechanical engineering, has been named F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor. Carrica, who joined the faculty in 2007, received his PhD and BS in nuclear engineering from the Instituto Balseiro in Argentina. He also holds an appointment as a research engineer with IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering. Carrica’s research interests include naval hydrodynamics, bubbly flows, ship aerodynamics, and computational fluid dynamics. 

Soura Dasgupta, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor. Dasgupta, who joined the college in 1985, received his PhD in systems engineering from Australian National University in 1985 and his BE in electrical engineering from the University of Queensland in 1980. His expertise is in the field of controls and identification. He is an IEEE fellow and a past Presidential Faculty Fellow.

The Miller Professorship is named for F. Wendell Miller, an attorney and farm manager from Rockwell City, Iowa, who died in 1995. The Miller Endowment Trust was established from the Miller estate, with interest and income from the trust divided equally between the UI and Iowa State University to encourage the advancement of academic endeavors.

Mona Garvin, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a Robert and Virginia Wheeler Faculty Fellow in Engineering. Garvin, who joined the college in 2008, received her PhD in biomedical engineering in 2008, her MS in biomedical engineering in 2004, her BSE in biomedical engineering and BS in computer science in 2003, all from the UI. Her major area of research interest is ophthalmic image analysis, and she holds appointments with the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging and the VA Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss. 

Gabriele Villarini, professor of civil and environmental engineering has been named a Robert and Virginia Wheeler Faculty Fellow in Engineering. Villarini, who joined the college in 2012, is the director of IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering. As a member of the Iowa Flood Center, he is in expert climate science, atmospheric rivers, and the relationships between rainfall, hurricanes, and flooding. Villarini received an NSF CAREER award for the study of hydrometeorological extremes in 2014 and has been named a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Big Ten Academic Alliance Leadership Program.

The fellowships were established from the estate of engineering alumnus Robert Wheeler and his wife, Virginia. Robert earned a BS degree in 1948, an MS degree in 1949, and a PhD degree in 1958—all in civil engineering. He was among the first to earn a doctorate in civil engineering at the UI. From 1953 to 1958, Wheeler was an instructor in civil engineering and served as assistant professor from 1958 to 1961. He also taught at Macalester College, Michigan Technical University, and the University of Akron. He retired from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Read more about Robert Wheeler.