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University of California Santa Barbara

Memos to Campus

Dean of Engineering Matthew Tirrell

January 7, 2009


Dear Colleagues:

It is with a sense of both deep gratitude and regret that I write to share with you that Dr. Matthew Tirrell, our Richard A. Auhll Professor and Dean of Engineering, has decided to move on to a new challenge after a decade of extraordinary leadership of our College of Engineering. He will be taking the position of Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, as well as Chair of Bioengineering, at UC Berkeley.

We are proud of this wonderful opportunity for our colleague, and glad that he will remain part of our UC family. Dr. Tirrell has graciously agreed to continue his deanship until the time of his departure from our campus in early summer. Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas and I are in the process of consulting with our campus community to form an advisory committee to conduct a national search for our next Dean of Engineering.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate Dean Tirrell for his tremendous achievements and contributions to our campus since joining us as Dean in September of 1999. His vision and leadership have been an integral part of many important successes for our College of Engineering, such as the establishment of the California NanoSystems Institute on our campus, in partnership with UCLA; the completion of our Engineering Science Building and Elings Hall; increased international recognitions for our award-winning faculty (on a per capita basis, the number of National Academy of Engineering members on our campus is among the highest in the nation); and most of all the rising stature of our College of Engineering, as attested to by multiple rankings and indicators. New centers of excellence have flourished under Dean Tirrell’s leadership, including our Technology Management Program, Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Biomolecular Science and Engineering, Institute for Energy Efficiency, and numerous other interdisciplinary centers and programs.

Dr. Tirrell is highly respected by his peers and colleagues around the world not only for his innovative academic leadership, but also for his own pioneering scholarship in the area of polymer surface properties and biomolecular materials. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has received numerous other accolades throughout his distinguished career, including Guggenheim and Sloan Fellowships, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the John. H. Dillon Medal from the American Physical Society, and the Allan Colburn Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Please join me in thanking Matt for his countless contributions to our College of Engineering, and to UC Santa Barbara as a whole. We congratulate him on his new position at our sister campus, and we wish him and his wife, Pamela, the very best in all that lies ahead.


Henry T. Yang