From the Dean

Penn Engineering Dean Vijay KumarUnprecedented Growth

The past year has been exceptional for Penn Engineering. When welcoming our new students to campus at the beginning of the semester, I was proud to note that they have joined the School at the most exciting time in its history.

This year, we topped off not one, but two new buildings. In February, we celebrated the placement of the final steel beam on the new Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology, or VLEST. Then in July, the completion of the mass-timber structure of Amy Gutmann Hall was joyfully observed. In a further expansion of the School’s footprint, work on the new lab space for the Center for Precision Engineering for Health began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in August.

These facilities, along with the record numbers of faculty we are recruiting to Penn Engineering, reflect our investments in areas that are critical to the future of humanity. Together, they represent the future of leading-edge research in our three Signature Initiatives: Energy and Sustainability, Data Science and Engineering Health. The opportunities created by these new spaces will impact education and research at Penn for decades to come.

Of the three initiatives, Energy and Sustainability represents our response to the biggest challenge of this century. I speak of course of climate change. Of the many efforts in the School in this space, as you page through this issue, I hope you will take the opportunity to learn about the Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture, or IoT4Ag, Center. The innovation produced in just three years by this $26 million NSF center, particularly in biodegradable sensors and batteries, is extraordinary. IoT4Ag shows the rapid progress that is possible through multidisciplinary collaborations toward a common goal.

This unprecedented growth and continued success for Penn Engineering is due in large part to the ongoing strength and support of our global community. The generosity and involvement of our alumni and friends demonstrate confidence in the ability of our students and faculty to change the world. I am gratified to know that this community is united by a single purpose: to analyze and create solutions for the world’s most pressing problems so that we may each leave the School, and the world, a better place for having been a part of it.

Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean