LSU has appointed Mary Julia “Judy” Wornat dean of the LSU College of Engineering. As dean, she holds the Bert S. Turner Chair in Engineering.
“We are pleased to name Dr. Judy Wornat as dean of the LSU College of Engineering,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “This is an exciting time for our engineering students, faculty and staff as the renovations to Patrick F. Taylor Hall are coming to completion, giving LSU the largest stand-alone engineering facility in the country. Under Dean Wornat’s leadership we look forward to continued growth and the continued rise of our College of Engineering.”
LSU conducted a national search for dean of the College of Engineering and four candidates participated in on-campus interviews and an open forum with students, faculty and staff in the fall. Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Support Services Matt Lee chaired the search committee.
“Dr. Judy Wornat is an inclusive and collaborative leader who has demonstrated her ability to tackle the role as dean,” said LSU Executive Vice President & Provost Rick Koubek, who previously served as dean of the College of Engineering. “I believe she is uniquely qualified, working closely with the faculty, staff and the community, to elevate the college in both prominence and stature and I look forward to seeing the College of Engineering advance under her leadership.”
Wornat graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981, then pursued her graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she performed research in the general area of fuels and combustion and earned her Master of Science and Doctor of Science degrees in chemical engineering in 1983 and 1988, respectively.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed the new dean of the LSU College of Engineering,” Wornat said. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our previous dean and the college’s faculty, staff, alumni, and corporate and community partners, the LSU College of Engineering has made great progress over the last several years on so many fronts: increasing the enrollment and diversity of our student body; adding new faculty in research areas important to the Louisiana economy; forging successful alliances with other institutions and industry to land major research centers; and, of course, the $114-million renovation and expansion of Patrick F. Taylor Hall, which will ultimately provide LSU College of Engineering students, faculty and staff over 430,000 square feet of state-of-the art laboratories, classrooms, offices and gathering spaces where they can learn, design, discover and create.”
She added, “The elements are in place for the LSU College of Engineering to have a great future, and I am looking forward to working with everyone to make that great future a reality.”
At the completion of her formal education, Wornat held various positions, including working two years as a research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Division of Coal and Energy Technology, in Sydney, Australia, and two years as a senior member of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, Combustion Research Facility, in Livermore, Calif.
In 1994, Wornat joined the faculty of Princeton University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, where she served eight and a half years before coming back to her home state of Louisiana in 2002 to join the faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering at LSU.
Through the course of her academic career, Wornat has authored or co-authored 75 refereed journal articles, secured more than $4.25 million in research funding, served on the editorial boards of three international journals and participated widely in a variety of professional organizations. From 2007 to 2009, she served as president of the International Society for Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds. She received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1996, a Distinguished Paper Award from the Combustion Institute in 2009 and an LSU Rainmaker Award in 2009.
At LSU, Wornat has participated in a variety of committees and initiatives within the Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and on the university level. She served as the LSU Department of Chemical Engineering’s director of graduate studies, from 2005 to 2011, and as the department chair from 2011 to 2015. Since July 2015, she has served LSU as the interim dean of the College of Engineering.
Founded in 1908, the LSU College of Engineering offers 11 undergraduate degree programs and confers approximately 650 bachelor’s degrees per year, ranking it in the top 10 percent nationally for graduates. Faculty members engage in education, research and commercialization with a strategic focus on research indigenous to Louisiana: energy, manufacturing, natural & built infrastructure, computation and biotechnology.
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