April 05, 2011

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Keith Buffinton, dean of the College of EngineeringBy Sam Alcorn

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Professor of Mechanical Engineering Keith Buffinton has been named dean of the College of Engineering at Bucknell University, Provost Mick Smyer announced today.

Buffinton, who was selected following an extensive national search, had been serving as interim dean of the college since 2009. He will begin his duties as dean on July 1.

"Keith has everything we were seeking in our dean, and we are fortunate to have him at Bucknell already," Smyer said. "He is highly respected across the country, is known for his devotion to teaching and his scholarship in engineering, and is a highly skilled administrator. Keith met the high expectations that President Bravman, the search committee and I had for the college's next dean, and we are looking forward to his leadership of the college."

Crucial role
"The search committee did a great job vetting a competitive series of candidates from across the country," President John Bravman said. "To Keith's credit, and to the credit of Bucknell, we were able to hire one of our own to lead a college that already does so much so well. Keith has made a huge impact during his years at the University, and all of us are looking forward to the crucial role he is going to play in the college's future."

A professor at Bucknell since 1987, Buffinton also served as associate dean in the College of Engineering from 2003 to 2007 and as the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 2008 to 2009.

His engineering specialties include robotics, computational analysis and leadership in management and technology, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a National Science Foundation Research Opportunity Award, Bucknell's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and visiting professorships at Stanford University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Donor support
As interim dean, Buffinton worked with donor support to develop a $1 million addition to the Dana Engineering Building to provide space for student design and manufacturing projects.

He also worked to establish a new mentoring, internship and scholarship program for underrepresented minorities in Bucknell's engineering program, the Engineering Success Alliance, and extended the Community College Scholars program to help bring in non-traditional students to study engineering at Bucknell.

Buffinton received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and a master's degree and doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

Search committee
The dean of engineering search committee included Tom DiStefano, committee chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering; Jeffrey Csernica, professor of chemical engineering; Erin Jablonski, assistant professor of chemical engineering; Janet Jones, professor of classics; David Kelley, associate professor of electrical engineering; Eric Kennedy, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; Xiannong Meng, professor of computer science; Steven Shooter, professor of mechanical engineering; Jim Rice, associate provost and dean of graduate studies; and mechanical engineering senior Kevin McCallen.

In 2009, Jim Orbison announced his decision to retire as dean of the College of Engineering to return to teaching following a one-year sabbatical.

The College of Engineering has more than 65 faculty members and 630 engineering majors in computer science and biomedical, chemical, civil and environmental, electrical, and mechanical engineering. The college consistently is ranked among the top engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Contact: Division of Communications