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Tonya Peeples Named Dean of the Penn State College of Engineering

This article first appeared on the Penn State College of Engineering website.

Tonya L. Peeples has been named the permanent Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering, beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Credit: Penn State. Creative Commons
Tonya L. Peeples. Credit: Penn State. Creative Commons.

Alumna Tonya L. Peeples (B.S. ’88) has been named the permanent Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Peeples has held the role in an interim capacity since July 2023.

As dean, Peeples will oversee all aspects of Penn State’s largest academic college, including its pursuit of excellence and innovation in engineering education and research; initiatives to attract students, faculty and staff and support their development; an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; stewardship of the college’s financial resources; and the continuation of a major campus facilities modernization.

Peeples was selected following a national search led by an 18-member committee and chaired by Tracy Langkilde, the Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

“Throughout Dr. Peeples’ career, including her five years at Penn State, she has a proven track record of success in promoting excellence while creating and nurturing an inclusive culture,” said Justin Schwartz, Penn State executive vice president and provost and former Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “Tonya is a natural collaborator and has shown herself to be a tireless advocate for the college. Her vision and leadership will build upon the 125-plus years of history for engineering at Penn State while also leading the college into exciting new territories for even greater impact.”

Peeples joined Penn State in 2018 as a professor of chemical engineering and as the inaugural associate dean for equity and inclusion in the College of Engineering. Earlier in 2023, prior to being named interim dean, she was appointed senior associate dean.

Among her responsibilities and accomplishments, Peeples has led the Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion, developed the college’s equity action plan, and helped to establish the A. James Clark Scholars Program at Penn State for promising engineering undergraduate students with significant financial need.

“Being chosen to lead the College of Engineering is a tremendous honor – a responsibility that is exciting for its possibilities to maximize the unique opportunities and strengths we have as a college,” Peeples said. “We have a deep capacity as a community to collaborate on solutions that will ensure our continued long-term impact as a leading force for engineering research and education in higher education, across the nation and globally. I am eager to continue the work already underway in partnership with our leadership team, faculty and staff to position the College of Engineering for a strong and prosperous future.”

Previously, Peeples served as the associate dean for diversity and outreach, and professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. She earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the American Society of Engineering Educators, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Association for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Chemical Society. She also is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.