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New dean of engineering joins NDSU

Photo of Michael Kessler


Michael Kessler joined the NDSU College of Engineering as its new dean. He started July 1. Kessler previously was Berry Family Director and Professor of the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University.

Kessler was the chief academic and administrative officer for the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at WSU. Kessler also was founding co-director for the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, a National Science Foundation Industry University Cooperative Research Center sponsored by about 30 member companies and the National Science Foundation.

Prior to his four years at Washington State, Kessler was the Wilkinson Professor in interdisciplinary engineering at Iowa State University, Ames, and an associate of the Department of Energy’s Ames Lab.

“I am very excited to be named the ninth dean of the College of Engineering at North Dakota State University,” Kessler said. “The opportunity to lead a growing engineering college at a land-grant, research university is a great fit for my interest and passion, and I can’t wait to work with the faculty, staff and students in the college to build on their tremendous success over the past decade.”

He has supervised 40 graduate students, 14 postdocs and managed $11 million in sponsored research that resulted in 170 journal papers, 80 peer reviewed conference proceedings and about 20 patents and patent applications.

He is a Fellow of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and the North American Thermal Analysis Society, and a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kessler earned his bachelor’s degree at LeTourneau University, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois-Champaign.

“I’m delighted that we have attracted a dynamic leader for the College of Engineering,” commented Provost Beth Ingram. “I look forward to working with him. I want to thank the members of the search committee who identified a strong pool of candidates and Dr. Gary Smith for his service to the college.”

Kessler replaces Gary Smith, who joined the NDSU faculty in 2000. Smith is returning to his position as a faculty member in the Department of Construction Management and Engineering.

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North Dakota State University
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