April 30, 2009

Third engineering dean candidate to visit campus

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE -- The third candidate for dean of the College of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will visit the campus next month.

Darrell Pepper will arrive the evening of May 10 and will spend Monday and Tuesday on campus. Pepper is professor and director of the Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Along with meeting SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman, vice chancellors, Interim Provost Don Rice, department chairs and directors, Pepper also is scheduled to meet with faculty, staff and students during his visit. Pepper will meet with faculty, staff and students at 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 11, in Engineering A 131. The meeting is scheduled to last one hour.

Pepper, along with Alexander Cheng, professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Mississippi, and William Worek, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, are vying for the position. Cheng and Worek visited campus during the week of April 27.

Pepper earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1968 at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He earned his Master of Science in aerospace engineering in 1970 and his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1973 there as well.

After working as a post-doctoral teaching fellow at that university, Pepper became an instructor and lecturer in 1976 in the Engineering Department at the University of South Carolina. He became an adjunct professor in 1982 at the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a non-tenured professor of mechanical engineering in 1988 at California State University-Northridge.

Pepper served as associate director of CMEST at the University of Nevada Las Vegas from 1993 to 1996, also working as a visiting professor at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory near Idaho Falls, ID, during that time. In 1996, he was a visiting professor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Division of Atmospheric Sciences before becoming director of engineering at the High-Pressure Science and Engineering Center at the UNLV in 1998. In 1996 he founded and is presently director of the Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods there.

Pepper served as professor and chair of mechanical engineering at UNLV from 1996 to 2002. He served almost 18 months as interim dean of the College of Engineering there before achieving his current position. He also served in a variety of positions in private industry from 1974 to the present day.

Pepper is a member of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation board of directors. He also serves on the board of Falcon Nano and chair of the board of advisors at PureSense Inc. and has served on many other boards and committees. His awards include “American Men and Women of Science” 21st edition in 2002, the Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Researcher award in 1999 and the Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award at UNLV in 1996, among many others.

Pepper, Cheng and Worek are vying to replace William Osborne, who retired in January 2008. Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is serving as interim engineering dean.