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Two Engineering Faculty Appointed as Endowed Chairs

By Tayte Miller, marketing and communications intern

Two School of Engineering faculty members were appointed to endowed chair positions by Provost Paul Benson and President Eric Spina at a formal installation ceremony held on Oct. 24, 2019:

These positions honor distinguished faculty who demonstrate vigorous and productive scholarship, success in mentoring students and junior faculty, and potential to enhance the reputation and impact of the department, school and University.

“Our endowed chairs are among our most engaged teachers and scholars, our most innovative and prolific researchers,” said President Eric Spina at the installation ceremony. “At UD, they lead the way — always in service to our students, the human community and the common good.”

In order to be nominated, candidates must be full-time faculty at the rank of associate or full professor. After being nominated by the faculty development committee within the department, there is an application process. The current endowed chairs and the associate deans review all applications and submit recommendations to the dean. He then makes a final recommendation to the provost. Endowed chair positions are held for four years and holders may apply for renewal in the last academic year of their term.

Endowed chairs are provided with the services of a graduate student to assist in their research. If they choose not to have a graduate student researcher, they may teach one less class a semester. Funds are also provided to support scholarly work including travel, equipment and guest lecturers.

John and Leona D. Torley Chair in Composite Materials

Dr. Don Klosterman, associate professor, whose research focuses on the formulation, manufacturing and testing of advanced composite materials, has been appointed as the John and Leona D. Torley Chair in Composite Materials. This endowment was established in 1999 in honor of the Torley family to support engineering education and research in the area of composite materials. John and Leona Torley were prominent Dayton leaders from the 1960s to late 1990s. John Torley was president and CEO of Dayton Malleable (Amcast Industrial), served as a member of the University of Dayton board of trustees and received an honorary degree from the University.

With over 25 years of experience in processing and characterizing advanced materials, Klosterman has been an asset to the University of Dayton. He has developed four graduate courses in polymer science and a lab course in composites, advises both undergraduate and graduate research students and is the faculty adviser for the UD chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE). Klosterman’s goal is to increase the visibility of the University as a leader in composite materials research and education.

“After many years working at UD and UDRI, I am deeply honored to receive the Torley Chair appointment, especially knowing the historical roots of composite materials at this institution,” says Klosterman. “I extend my sincere gratitude to the previous Torley Chair, Dr. Charles Browning, for his support and mentoring over the years, especially since he is one of our nation’s founding fathers in the science and engineering of advanced composite materials. These materials continue to have a profound impact on improving the quality of life in our world.”

Dr. and Mrs. Charles Wilke Distinguished Professor and Chair in Chemical and Materials Engineering

Dr. Kristen Krupa-Comfort, whose multidisciplinary research laboratory focuses on the generation and utilization of enhanced in vitro models, has been appointed as the Dr. and Mrs. Charles Wilke Distinguished Professor and Chair in Chemical and Materials Engineering. Established in 2003 by Dr. Wilke and his wife, Bernice, this position was created to enhance core areas of engineering and focus on emerging technologies.

Krupa-Comfort is an associate professor,  the department chair of chemical and materials engineering, and director of the bioengineering graduate program. She has mentored over 40 students and published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles during her seven years at the University of Dayton. Krupa-Comfort is also a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has received over $2 million in external funding.

Prior to coming to the University, Krupa-Comfort served as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. As Wilke Chair, she plans to expand research on campus, which will allow more students, both graduate and undergraduate, to gain critical knowledge and insight into the research process through a unique experiential learning process.

“The multidisciplinary training of both undergraduate and graduate students has been a particular focus of my time at UD and has been exceptionally rewarding as I learn as much from my students as they learn from me,” commented Krupa-Comfort.

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