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Professors Genzer, Ollis and Spontak are Distinguished Professors

Chancellor Randy Woodson has appointed Professors Jan Genzer, David Ollis and Richard Spontak as Professors of Distinction. To qualify for this honor, candidates “must be an outstanding faculty member or potential faculty member who has achieved recognition well above the criteria for full professor and be considered one of the best scholars in the discipline.”

faculty-genzerProfessor Genzer has been appointed as the S. Frank and Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor. He earned his Dipl. Ing. in Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology, Czech Republic, and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Genzer’s research interests include materials self-assembly and directed-assembly, and the behavior of polymers at surfaces, interfaces and in confined geometries. His group’s current research activities include: synthesis and application of functional silicone elastomer networks and hydrogels; formation and structure of surface-grafted polymer assemblies; and directed assembly of oligomers and polymers on elastomeric substrates. In 2016 he received the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award.

Frank Culberson, ex-chairman and former chief executive of Rimkus Consulting Group in Houston, is a 1960 graduate of this department. In 2011, he and his wife, Doris, pledged $1 million to endow two CBE professorships.

Professor OllisProfessor Ollis has been appointed as a Distinguished University Professor. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, all in chemical engineering, from Caltech, Northwestern and Stanford, respectively. Prior to joining NC State’s faculty, Dr. Ollis was a professor at the University of California at Davis and at Princeton University.

Dr. Ollis has written more than 130 journal articles with his students, delivered more than 200 invited lectures in English and French, and has published four books, including a translation with Nick Serpone of Photochemical Technology from French to English. The textbook he co-authored with James Bailey, Biochemical Engineering Fundamentals, was the dominant text in its area for a decade.

Dr. Ollis has been the catalyst for many innovative engineering courses during his tenure at NC State. The Freshman Engineering Laboratory he developed provided freshman students with an introduction to “hands-on” involvement with engineering products and processes. At the graduate level, all first-year doctoral students in the department take the research proposition courses he helped to develop. Reflecting his interest in French, he launched a study-abroad summer program in technical French.

Dr. Ollis has received numerous awards recognizing his excellence in the classroom, including a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, NC State Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Award, the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Sterling Olmsted Award from the Liberal Education Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). In 2004 he received the Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in recognition of his contributions to scholarship and education. The Director’s Award is the highest honor bestowed by NSF for excellence in both teaching and research. In 2006, he received the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Extension.

faculty-spontakProfessor Spontak has been appointed as a Distinguished Professor. He earned his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, both in chemical engineering.

Professor Spontak’s research interests include polymer morphology and phase stability, multifunctional and nanostructured polymers, blends and networks, and application of microscopy techniques to polymer science and engineering. The primary research focus of his Polymer Morphology Group (PMG) is to employ, and in some cases develop, complementary chemical, processing, microscopy and scattering techniques to control and probe structural characteristics of nano/microstructured polymers and polymer (nano)composites.

Dr. Spontak is an Alumni Fellow of Penn State University. At NC State, he was chosen to receive the 2005 Alumni Outstanding Research Award, the 2008 Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2012 Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, both in the United Kingdom. Fellows are the highest grade of membership of most professional or learned societies. In 2015, he received the Society of Plastics Engineers International Award.

In 2012 Dr. Spontak was selected to receive the Lars Onsager Professorship and Medal at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. He has also been elected to the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (NTVA). The NTVA is the Norwegian equivalent of the National Academy of Engineering.

Congratulations to Professors Genzer, Ollis and Spontak for your well-deserved professorships!