The RensselaerPlan
Also in this story:
 Reaching for the Stars
Family Ties
Also in this story:
Good Connections
Houston Field House
President's View

At Rensselaer
From the Archives
Hawk Talk
Making a Difference
Class Features
RAA News
Alumni Weddings
Looking Ahead



G.P. “Bud” Peterson, the College of Engineering Tenneco Professor, associate vice chancellor, and executive associate dean of engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named provost of Rensselaer, effective July 1.   

A fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Peterson pursues research interests in the field of thermodynamics and heat transfer. His most recent work presents enormous commercial potential for use in the thermal control of high-power semiconductor devices and for the elimination of cancerous tissue in situ. Peterson has received international recognition for his work and has earned eight patents, with two patents pending.   

“Bud Peterson brings outstanding credentials and capabilities to the position of provost,” President Jackson said. “His significant research accomplishments, extensive administrative experience, and record of achievement in the classroom will serve as the strong foundation for his crucial role in fostering excellence in the academic activities of the Institute.”   

Peterson has held a number of key administrative roles at Texas A&M, including head of the mechanical engineering department, assistant director of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, associate dean of engineering, and associate vice chancellor for the A&M System.   

Respected internationally for his work in boiling and phase change heat transfer, Peterson also is a highly regarded educator whose teaching evaluations have ranked him in the top 10 percent of the faculty in the Texas A&M College of Engineering.   

Peterson earned a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1985. He earned a master’s in engineering and two bachelor’s degrees, in mathematics and in engineering, all from Kansas State University.   

Peterson is the author or co-author of more than 125 refereed journal articles and more than 150 conference publications. He also is editor of several technical journals. His work on committees and panels for the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Energy, and the National Academy of Engineering has helped shape the national agenda in the field of heat transfer. A registered professional engineer in the state of Texas, Peterson is also a member of Pi Tau Sigma, Sigma Xi, and Phi Kappa Phi.


Curtis Powell, corporate director for human resources at Suburban Hospital Healthcare System (SHHS) in Bethesda, Md., has been named vice president for human resources at Rensselaer. He will begin work July 1. Since 1998, Powell has served SHHS and has been responsible for human resource management involving more than 2,200 employees at two acute-care hospitals. He previously worked for four years as vice president for human resources at Bon Secours Baltimore Health System. Powell holds lifetime certification as a senior professional in human resource management from the Society for Human Resource Management. He holds a B.S. from Delaware State University and a master’s degree in human resource development from Bowie State University.

Eddie Ade Knowles, who has served for 18 years as dean of students, has been named interim vice president for student life. Knowles joined the Rensselaer community as assistant dean of students in 1977. He was named director of minority affairs in 1979 and became dean of students in 1982. Knowles earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Lincoln University and a master’s degree in higher education from Columbia University. In 1998, he earned a doctorate in public administration and policy from the University at Albany’s Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.

Teresa Duffy has been named to a newly created position of dean of enrollment management in which she will be responsible for all aspects of enrollment for undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. The position will report to the provost. Duffy has served as dean of undergraduate admissions since 1994.

Under her leadership, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions re-engineered the freshman and transfer admissions processes to improve efficiencies and focus on service to students, parents, teachers, and counselors. Yield of students increased by 33 percent and quality of students as measured by SAT scores improved. A graduate of Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, Duffy joined the Rensselaer staff in 1989 as director of corporate and foundation relations. She previously served as vice president for customer satisfaction at Garden Way Inc. and later as vice president for retail operations.

Victor Roberts, who spent nearly 30 years designing innovative lighting technologies at GE Lighting and GE’s Corporate R&D Center, has joined the Lighting Research Center as senior lighting technologist. Roberts holds 30 patents for lighting technologies and has written extensively for lighting industry journals and publications. He has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland.

G. Ramanath, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, was awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. The grant, aimed at young faculty members actively engaged in research and education, is one of the NSF’s most competitive and prestigious awards. Ramanath received a $400,000 four-year grant to study the use of thin films of copper and its alloys to make better interconnects in microprocessors.

Thomas Pok-Yin Yu, assistant professor of mathematics, and Wesley Huang, assistant professor of computer science, have received Faculty Early Career Development Awards from the National Science Foundation. Yu received a four-year, $245,000 grant for his work in a branch of mathematics known as approximation theory, which has applications in fields as various as data compression, data estimation, medical imaging, and computer animation.

Huang received a four-year, $281,000 grant to study a new generation of mobile robots. Huang works in the areas of robotic manipulation (grasping and moving objects) and mobile robotics. He expects such robots, acting in teams, to be especially useful in environments inhospitable to humans—say, the surface of Mars or a toxic waste site.


Mark Steiner ’78, clinical associate professor of mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and mechanics, has been named director of the Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory (MDL). The MDL, located in the Jonsson Engineering Center high bay, will be a unique teaching and learning facility involving multiple engineering disciplines, management, humanities, architecture, and science. The facility is expected to open in October. Steiner, who graduated from Rensselaer with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1987, is a former senior project manager at Rensselaer’s Center for Manufacturing Productivity (later the Institute for Design and Manufacturing), and was a product design engineer at GE for 12 years.

Frances Bronet, associate dean and associate professor in the School of Architecture, has been elected vice president/president-elect of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ASCA). Her election was announced in March at the ACSA’s annual meeting in Los Angeles. Bronet will take office as vice president on July 1. Bronet joined the Rensselaer faculty as an assistant professor of architecture in 1985. She received bachelor’s degrees in architecture and civil engineering from McGill University in 1978 and 1979, and a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University in 1985.

Mark Smith has been named interim dean of students. Smith joined the dean of students staff in 1986 and has served as associate dean and director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs since 1995. A graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, Smith earned a master of arts degree from the University at Albany and has done advanced study in educational administration and supervision and in instructional design and development.

Robert Messler Jr. ’65, associate professor of materials science and engineering, has been named associate dean for academic and student affairs in the School of Engineering. Messler spent 10 years at Grumman Aerospace Corporation and five at Eutectic-Castolin Corporation. He returned to Rensselaer in 1984 as technical director/associate director of the Center for Manufacturing Productivity & Technology Transfer. He became a full-time faculty member in 1991, and has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses.

Warren Lutes, men’s indoor track and field coach, has been named the 2000 NCAA Division III Atlantic Region Men’s Coach of the Year. The United States Track Coaches Association selects and presents this award annually to a top coach in each of the seven NCAA Division III men’s track and field regions. Lutes, in his 20th season as head coach, led the Engineers to their first-ever New York State Collegiate Track Conference title. Lutes is also the men’s outdoor track and field coach. During his 23 years at Rensselaer, he has also served as athletic director, associate athletic director, and physical education instructor.


Rensselaer Alumni Magazine On-Line