University of California, Davis, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi will receive the National Academy of Engineering Simon Ramo Founders Award for her “extraordinary impact on the engineering profession” and “leadership in engineering research and education.” Katehi is the first woman to receive the Founders Award, which will be presented during NAE’s 2015 annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4.
“I have always felt privileged to be an engineer, and to be recognized and appreciated by one’s peers in this way is a truly wonderful honor,” Katehi said. “I feel particularly fortunate that throughout my career, I have had many opportunities to mentor women engineers, and I know as our field becomes more diverse, other women and underrepresented minorities will win this and similar awards.”
Katehi has been regarded as a pioneer in engineering education for more than 30 years. She is recognized with the Simon Ramo Founders Award, which was established in 1965, “For visionary leadership in engineering research, entrepreneurship, and education, and for national advocacy of higher education as a major driver of the U.S. economy.” The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society and includes a commemorative medal.
Katehi has overseen all aspects of the university’s teaching, research and public service mission since taking her post in 2009. Since her early years as a faculty member, Katehi has focused on expanding research opportunities for undergraduates and improving the education and professional experience of graduate students, with an emphasis on women and underrepresented groups.
Under her leadership, UC Davis has progressed with its 2020 Initiative to add up to 5,000 new students by the end of the decade, along with 300 new faculty and needed facilities. Furthermore, in 2013, Katehi established the UC Davis World Food Center to tackle critical issues such as how to feed a growing planet in an environmentally friendly way and to advance the nexus between food and human health. Earlier this year, Katehi established the UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health, in collaboration with Mars, Incorporated, to seek solutions to global issues in food, agriculture and health.
Previously, Katehi served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University; and associate dean for academic affairs and graduate education in the College of Engineering and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.
Her work in electronic circuit design has led to numerous national and international awards both as a technical leader and educator, 19 U.S. patents, and several additional U.S. patent applications. She is the author or co-author of 10 book chapters and about 650 refereed publications in journals and symposia proceedings.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1977, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1981 and 1984, respectively.
UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.