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New engineering dean hopes to help Ohio’s economy

From England to Pennsylvania to Alabama, David B. Williams has developed a world-class reputation, but it is at Ohio State that Williams sees opportunities.

Williams, president of The University of Alabama at Huntsville, has been named the new dean of the College of Engineering at OSU. His appointment, upon approval of the Board of Trustees, will begin on April 18.

Williams, a graduate of the University of Cambridge, and a native of Leeds, England, said he is looking forward to coming to OSU.

“I’m very excited to be coming; it is an extraordinary university and the engineering college has a tradition of leading in many aspects of engineering,” Williams said. “The opportunities for me personally and the college itself are tremendous.”

President E. Gordon Gee released a statement about bringing Williams to the OSU community.

“We are very fortunate to have attracted David Williams to Ohio State,” Gee said. “He has a superb track record as a scholar and an academic leader, and he has created substantial partnerships to spur innovation and the commercialization of faculty discoveries.”

Greg Washington holds the position of interim dean of the College of Engineering. Joseph Alutto, executive vice president and provost at OSU, said Washington has been offered the position of OSU’s associate vice president for innovation and strategic partnerships. Alutto released a statement thanking Washington for his term as interim dean.

“I know that the College of Engineering and the university community join me in thanking him for his superb dedication, energy and leadership as interim dean,” Alutto said. “Under his leadership, the college has progressed significantly.”

Williams said the College of Engineering has an opportunity to affect the Ohio economy positively.

“The Ohio economy is dependent on engineering in the area of manufacturing. The interface between business and engineering has a great affect on manufacturing and the manufacturing technologies and manufacturing practices.” Williams said. “Hopefully we can help the economy of Ohio in these difficult times.”

Gee also spoke about the transition between the two deans and their joint effort to improve Ohio’s economic prosperity.

“Dr. Williams will build on the strong progress made by Greg Washington in his service as interim dean. Dr. Washington’s newly expanded role at the University reflects his broader service across the institution,” Gee said. “Together, these moves accelerate the University’s efforts to strengthen Ohio’s long-term economic prosperity.”

Williams said there is a chance to collaborate with other colleges at OSU in hopes of advancing research in the areas of business, medicine and science.

“Advances in research are very often accomplished between many disciplines,” Williams said.

The College of Engineering currently offers 13 undergraduate degrees and 13 graduate engineering programs, across 10 different departments. The college has a staff of 198 full-time employees.

According to the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the College of Engineering graduate program is rated best in Ohio and 29th nationally among 198 engineering schools.

Before becoming president at The University of Alabama at Huntsville in 2007, Williams spent 30 years on staff at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. He has co-authored or edited 11 textbooks and authored or co-authored more than 400 publications on the topic of metals and alloys.

Williams said the University of Alabama at Huntsville has less than 8,000 students and the city is about four times smaller than Columbus.

“Learning how to work, study and partner within a university this big is something I am looking forward to,” Williams said.


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