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Endowed Chairs

Dr. Kristen Krupa-Comfort

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

October 24, 2019. The Wilke Distinguished Professor and Chair in Chemical and Materials Engineering was established in 2003 through the generosity of Charles R. Wilke, Ph.D. and his wife, Bernice. Wilke graduated with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Dayton in 1940. He went on to serve as the first chair and co-founder of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Bernice Wilke was an elementary school teacher. As such, both Charles and Bernice Wilke were committed to education. This chair position was created to strengthen the core engineering areas and provide flexibility to focus on emerging technologies such as bioengineering, environmental engineering, nanomaterials and fuel cell technology.

Dr. Kristen Krupa-Comfort ’02 earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and then served as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow with the U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory. She came to the University of Dayton in 2013 and is currently an associate professor, the chair of the chemical and materials engineering department, and director of bioengineering. Since coming to UD, she has mentored more than 40 students, published 24 journal articles and been awarded over $2 million in external research funding, including the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Her research merges her expertise in chemical and biological engineering, with a focus on the generation and utilization of enhanced in vitro models. As Wilke Chair, Dr. Krupa-Comfort plans to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration to develop a diverse bioengineering-based research program while increasing experiential learning opportunities.

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Dr. Donald A. Klosterman

John F. and Leona D. Torley Chair in Composite Materials

October 24, 2019. The John F. and Leona D. Torley Chair in Composite Materials was established in 1999. The Torleys, who graciously provided the endowment, were prominent Dayton leaders from the 1960s until their deaths in 1998. John Torley, a mechanical and industrial engineer, was president and CEO of Dayton Malleable (Amcast Industrial). He served as a member of the University of Dayton board of trustees and was elected chair in 1977. He received an honorary degree from the University of Dayton in 1982. This position was created to support engineering education and research in the area of composite materials.

Donald A. Klosterman ’89 has over 25 years of experience in processing and characterizing advanced materials, including polymers, composites, ceramics and nanocomposites. In the 1990s, he helped pioneer the use of laminated object manufacturing for the 3D printing of ceramics. He set up several facilities for the University of Dayton Research Institute in the 2000s, including a 2,000-square-foot pilot plant for nanocomposites and a research facility for studying electron beam curing of composites. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Klosterman developed four graduate courses in polymer science and a lab course in composites, which he teaches annually. He advises a diverse array of research students, from undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates, and is the faculty adviser for the University of Dayton chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE).

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Dr. Markus Rumpfkeil

Hans von Ohain Endowed Chair in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

August 16, 2018. Dr. Markus Rumpfkeil, an associate professor whose research focuses on the area of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), has been appointed to this endowed chair position. The Hans von Ohain Endowed Chair in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was established in 1999 to honor Dr. Hans von Ohain, co-inventor of the jet engine, who joined UDRI as senior research engineer and UD as a professor in 1979. This endowed chair empowers the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to maintain its leadership position in engineering education and scholarly research in the areas of aerospace fuels, combustion and thermal management. Dr. Rumpfkeil has over 50 peer reviewed journal and conference papers and was recently named associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Dr. Rumpfkeil will use this endowed chair position to lead a committee to explore the feasibility of UD becoming part of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program.
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Dr. Margaret Pinnell

The Bernhard Schmidt Chair in Engineering Leadership

August 16, 2018. Dr. Margaret Pinnell, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and associate dean for faculty and staff development, has been appointed as the Bernhard Schmidt Chair in Engineering Leadership. This position was established in 2003 in honor of Dr. Bernhard Schmidt, distinguished electrical engineer and UD alumnus, who served the University for 52 years.  The position is meant to establish the School of Engineering as a school of excellence and a leader in engineering education. Dr. Pinnell has a strong record of leadership in the School of Engineering. She served as the acting director for ETHOS for over ten years, helping to establish ETHOS as a nationally recognized program and a distinctive program at UD. As the associate dean for faculty and staff development, she works to enhance the culture and climate of the School of Engineering, helping faculty and staff achieve their professional goals and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.  Dr. Pinnell will leverage the endowed chair position to engage in research on leadership development at UD and elsewhere, issues of gender equity and inclusive excellence in leadership development, and will examine the potential for a leadership across the curriculum model for student leadership development. 

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Professor Rebecca Blust

Frank M. Tait Endowed Chair in Engineering

August 16, 2018. Professor Rebecca Blust, associate professor with the Department of Engineering Management, Systems, and Technology and director of the Innovation Center, has been appointed as the Frank M. Tait Endowed Chair. This position was established in 1970 with a bequest from Mr. Tait, long-time friend and benefactor of the University and founder of Dayton Power & Light Company and Tait Manufacturing. This position was created to help advance research and innovation in the School of Engineering. Prof. Blust has a wealth of both industrial and academic experience in innovation. The Innovation Center is one of the School of Engineering’s flagship experiential learning opportunities and a key industry and community partner. In 2017, the Innovation Center facilitated approximately 150 projects and served approximately 75 percent of graduating seniors. She currently serves as inaugural faculty fellow at the Institute for Applied Creativity (IACT) and is deeply involved with the GEMnasium, a collaborative hands-on ‘test lab’ and innovative transdisciplinary teaching space. Prof. Blust also works with University and community partners to determine an impactful, innovative purpose for the Dayton Arcade complex downtown. She will leverage the endowed chair position to help distinguish UD from other universities by creating an environment that will enhance student capabilities to integrate and apply creative thoughts and ideas to both engineering and societal problems.  

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Dr. Christopher Muratore

Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair Professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering

July 1, 2017. Dr. Christopher Muratore was named the Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair Professor. Dr. Muratore received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 2002. He was an American Society for Engineering Education Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Plasma Physics Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, where he developed novel plasma processing techniques to manipulate properties of diverse engineering surfaces. He joined the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in 2004 to develop smart thin film nanocomposite materials demonstrating temperature-adaptive mechanical properties and integrated health monitoring. He also led numerous studies on heat transfer at nanoscale surfaces and interfaces. He joined the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Dayton in December 2012 and is now the Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair Professor. He is currently engaged in the development of novel approaches for large-scale synthesis of ultra-thin layered atomic structures for flexible electronic devices and molecular sensors.
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Dr. Michael C. Wicks

Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair in Sensor Exploitation and Fusion, Electrical and Computer Engineering

September 28, 2012. Dr. Michael C. Wicks, a world-renowned expert in radar and signal processing, was inducted as the Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair in Sensor Exploitation and Fusion. His responsibilities include forging partnerships with industry, research, and government as well as advancing the University of Dayton's regional, national, and international stature in this field. Dr. Wicks received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering as well as his M.A. in Public Administration from Syracuse University. Previously, Dr. Wicks worked for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate. As senior scientist, he conducted, supervised and managed basic and applied research and development in sensor signal processing, specializing in the science and technology needed for superior air and space systems for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, precision engagement and electronic warfare. Dr. Wicks conducts research in remote sensing, signal processing and systems engineering, with a current focus on distributed sensing and radio frequency technology. Dr. Wicks has published over 300 papers, reports, book chapters, books and U.S. patents.  In 2009, Dr. Wicks was awarded the IEEE Warren D. White Award for Excellence in Radar Engineering.  He is a fellow of IEEE, an emeritus fellow of the AFRL, and IEEE Nathanson Award.
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Dr. Khalid Lafdi

Wright Brothers Institute Endowed Chair in Nano Materials, Chemical and Materials Engineering

September 30, 2011. Dr. Khalid Lafdi, with 20 years of carbon science and technology experience, was inducted as the Wright Brothers Institute Endowed Chair in Nano Materials in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. In 2001, as Carbon Group Leader for the University of Dayton Research Institute, Dr. Lafdi helped advance the University of Dayton’s research vision in nanotechnology. Dr. Lafdi was responsible for establishing the Nanoscale Engineering Science and Technology Laboratory (NEST) and the Carbon Research Laboratory. Ten years ago, he built a state-of-the-art thermal management laboratory and a carbon manufacturing transition facility in order to facilitate scale-up processes and technology transfers of carbon materials and devices. Dr. Lafdi has published more than 140 articles and chapters in refereed journals and edited four books about nanocomposites and thermal management. Furthermore, he holds four patents and has licensed three major technologies in nanomanufacturing to Ohio companies. Recognized for his expertise, the American Carbon Society selected Dr. Lafdi as their 2014 George D. Graffin Lecturer and their carbon “ambassador.” As ambassador, Dr. Lafdi will travel the U.S. and highlight 40 years of carbon science and technology not only for academia but also for industry. As the School’s endowed chair, Dr. Lafdi will lead and mentor collaborative research; expand the University’s nanomaterials program; and create new partnerships with industry, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and the University of Dayton Research Institute.
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Dr. Mikhail A. Vorontsov

Wright Brothers Chair in LADAR and Optical Communications, Electro-Optics 

September 24, 2010. Dr. Mikhail Vorontsov was inducted as the Wright Brothers Institute Endowed Chair for the LADAR and Optical Communications Institute (LOCI) at the University of Dayton. Dr. Vorontsov has published over 250 papers and four books on the subjects of adaptive optics, nonlinear spatio- temporal dynamics, phase retrieval problem, imaging and laser communications through turbulence, parallel image processing and correction, optical synergetics, laser beam shaping, computer optics, optimal control theory, and optical neural networks. He is a fellow of ARL, SPIE, and OSA and the recipient of many awards including the University of Maryland’s Outstanding Systems Engineering Faculty, U.S. Army Research and Development Achievement Award, ARL Achievement Award for Best Publication, and ARL Achievement Award for Science for the development of a new generation of adaptive laser communication and imaging systems. Through the vision of the Wright Brothers Institute, the chair in LADAR and Optical Communication was created to support the Air Force Research Laboratory’s investment in LOCI through endowment by the University of Dayton, the LOCI partners, and the Ohio Research Scholars Program. This position strengthens the University’s role in unraveling the complex phenomena that obscure images and degrade information that pass through atmospheric disturbances. The chair will grow our talent in critical areas of national need and provide leadership in developing future technologies to mitigate the deleterious effects of atmospheric turbulence on laser communications and remote sensing.
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Dr. Vijayan Asari

Ohio Research Scholars Chair in Wide-Area Surveillance, Electrical and Computer Engineering

February 19, 2010. Dr. Vijayan K. Asari was inducted as the Ohio Research Scholars Chair in Wide-Area Surveillance. His focus, through the School’s Vision Lab, is on the development of new algorithms and architectures for real-time applications in areas of signal processing, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, artificial neural networks and bio-mimetic object-vision recognition. Dr. Asari’s projects include: visibility improvement of images and videos captured in low lighting and bad weather conditions; multi-sensor image fusion; video stabilization; automatic face detection, tracking, and recognition; iris recognition; automatic vessel detection and identification; brain wave processing for intention analysis; and robotic navigation and visual data analysis for situational awareness. In order to build real-time systems for defense and homeland security applications, Dr. Asari combines the aspects of mathematical modeling of human visual perception, the extraction of representational features from visual data, and the statistical and logical methodologies for decision-making. As the new chair, Dr. Asari will help to strengthen Ohio and its citizens and prepare them for global competition in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as the medical fields and STEM education. Through the vision of the Ohio Research Scholars Program, this multi-university, statewide position was formed to develop and support an increase in highly-qualified research talent and focus on long-term regional economic development.
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