November 12, 2004

George M. Swisher Engineering dean to step down in 2005

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - George M. Swisher, dean of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Engineering, will step down June 30, 2005."I've spent many years (in academic administration), and I'm ready to have more time with my family, though whether as a retiree or as a member of the faculty I have not yet decided," said Swisher, who began his university career in 1969 as an assistant professor of systems engineering at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

"I have enjoyed working with everybody here, and I plan to get a lot accomplished before I leave the position."

John M. Dunn, SIUC provost and vice chancellor, said the University appreciated Swisher's service and his leadership.

"Dean Swisher's commitment and efforts on behalf of the College of Engineering, its faculty, staff and students are commendable," he said. "Under his leadership, the college's enrollment, graduate programs and research efforts have expanded.

"I myself have enjoyed working with Dean Swisher. He is an individual of high integrity who is fair and considerate in his interactions with others." A search for a new dean will start shortly.

"We intend to move as rapidly as possible in formulating a search committee and undertaking a national search," Dunn said. "I am confident that we will be able to attract an outstanding leader for the college."

Swisher, a mechanical engineer by training, came to SIUC in 1999 from Tennessee Technological University, in Cookeville, Tenn., where he served 18 years in administration in the college of engineering, nine as associate dean for graduate studies and research and nine as dean.

Swisher said he felt proud of the college's accomplishments at SIUC over the last five years.

"We have recruited excellent new faculty, chairpersons and directors," he said.

"We have also increased new freshman enrollment, improved the retention of our undergraduates, increased scholarship support of our undergraduates and enjoyed the continued success of our two research centers (the Center for Advanced Friction Studies and the Materials Technology Center)."

Swisher said he also enjoyed his work with Williamson County's Regional Economic Development Corp. in bringing the Aisin companies to the area. Aisin Mfg. Ill. makes high-quality car sun roofs, doorframes, latching systems, seats and trim, while Aisin Light Metals makes aluminum extrusion products. The company plans to open an electronics plant as well.

In addition to his academic positions, Swisher's career has included research appointments with Rockwell International in Ohio, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and Owens Corning Fiberglass of Ohio.

Swisher earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1966 and his master's and doctoral degrees from The Ohio State University in 1967 and 1969.