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FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Names Esteemed Scholar, Innovator as New Dean

Story by
Andrew Skerritt and Tisha Keller
suvranu de phd
Suvranu De was appointed the Dean, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, in May 2022. He begins the job on July 15, 2022. (Courtesy S. De)

Florida A&M University and Florida State University announced today the appointment of Suvranu De as the next dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. His first day is July 15.

De is the J. Erik Jonsson ’22 Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he serves as head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering and director of the Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Imaging in Medicine. 

“We welcome Suvranu De to the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, a unique partnership that is breaking new ground in scholarship, research, and technology innovation while successfully recruiting and educating engineers from underrepresented groups,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “Dean De’s impressive background makes him well suited to lead the way forward as we enter a new era of success at the college.”

FSU President Richard McCullough echoed Robinson’s comments.

“We are incredibly excited to bring Dr. De to Tallahassee as the new dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering,” McCullough said. “Dr. De is an outstanding scholar, leader and innovator who will advance the college’s mission to educate the next generation of engineers and prepare them to compete in an ever-changing workforce.”

De was one of three finalists chosen by a 14-member committee following a nationwide search. The presidents and provosts of both institutions jointly made the final selection of De.

As dean, De will serve as the joint college’s chief academic and administrative officer, overseeing academic affairs and research, including all centers, institutes, and academic services. In this role, he will work with both universities’ deans, faculty, and administrators to advance the college’s mission and strengthen the institution’s state, national and international reputation. 

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve as the dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering,” De said. “The college is on a steep upward trajectory with exceptional faculty, students, and staff; dynamic educational and research programs; world-class research centers; and dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion. I have been thrilled by the warmth and hospitality I received on campus. My wife, Nilanjana, and I are looking forward to being part of the FAMU-FSU family.”

De succeeds Murray Gibson, who has joined the faculty after five years as dean. Farrukh Alvi has served as interim dean since November 2021.

“Dean Gibson provided extraordinary leadership for the college over the past five years, resulting in significant increases in the college’s stature and national rankings,” said FAMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maurice Edington. “Dean De’s impressive record of success, ambitious vision and strong commitment to the college’s mission made him the ideal choice for this vital role.”

The dean is employed by FAMU but reports to the provosts of both institutions. In a joint statement, they thanked the efforts of interim dean Farrukh Alvi, who has been at the helm since January.

“We are incredibly grateful for Farrukh Alvi and his service to the college as interim dean. Dr. Alvi has been a champion for the college and its faculty, and we appreciate his willingness to lead during this time of transition. During his tenure, Dr. Alvi has helped the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering graduate the highest number of minority Ph.D. scholars in the nation. His dedication and vision have been an asset to the college for many years and will continue to be as we move into the future,” it said.

Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature appropriated $6.6 million in recurring funds to the college’s joint budget to improve student success, recruit the best students, attract, and retain outstanding faculty, introduce new courses and degrees, and provide state-of-the-art facilities for current and future research endeavors. De will concentrate on bringing external resources and partnerships to the college.

“We are elated to have found the right candidate to build on that success with Dr. De. His impeccable academic credentials, leadership experience and bold vision made him a great fit for the college and both universities,” said FSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jim Clark. 

De’s research interests include the development of novel, robust and reliable computational technology to solve challenging and high-impact problems in engineering, medicine, and biology. 

He is the recipient of the ONR Young Investigator Award (2005), Rensselaer School of Engineering Research Excellence Award (2008), the James M. Tien ’66 Early Career Award for Faculty (2009), the Rensselaer School of Engineering Outstanding Research Team Award (2012), the J. Tinsley Oden Medal of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics (2019) and the Edwin F. Church Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2022). 

De currently serves on the editorial boards of multiple journals as well as scientific committees of numerous national and international conferences. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and serves as Vice-Chair (Awards) of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics and leads/co-leads several committees of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). He is an elected fellow of four professional societies: the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM), and the United States Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM).

At the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, De will lead more than 300 faculty and staff, along with 2,800 graduate and undergraduate students on the campus. Over the past several years, the institution has enjoyed a dramatic rise in rankings, record-breaking research expenditures and notable achievements in academic and research success. More than half of the patents (combined) at FAMU and FSU came out of the joint college. Master’s and doctoral engineering degrees accounted for half of the total advanced degrees produced at FAMU in the 2021-2022 academic year. The 11 doctoral degrees awarded to Black engineers are a record for the top-ranked HBCU.

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is the only such shared college of engineering in the nation. The institution, based in Tallahassee, Florida, has five departments and offers nine areas of study. The college’s faculty run many prestigious research centers and is closely associated with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.