Hassan Aref, a professor and head of the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will assume the deanship of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering on April 1.

Virginia Tech's Provost Mark McNamee made the announcement, saying, "After conducting a nationwide search, Virginia Tech is pleased to be able to bring to the University an individual of Dr. Aref's scholarly and administrative accomplishments. As the dean of our highly acclaimed engineering college, he will play an important role in our University's aspirations to attain top 30 status."

Aref, in accepting the offer, said, "I am pleased and honored to have been given this opportunity to help realize Virginia Tech's aspirations, in which the College of Engineering is poised to play a leadership role. I hope to draw on my experiences at elite private and public academic institutions over the past two decades to find creative ways to enhance the College in today's challenging environment. The constructive, 'can do' attitude of the College of Engineering and the Central Administration has been very refreshing in these otherwise uncertain times for public higher education."

Virginia Tech's College of Engineering is currently ranked 15th in the country for the quality of its undergraduate programs and 23rd for the quality of its graduate programs, according to a survey by U.S. News and World Report. In the latter survey, the college was rated 15th in the nation by corporate recruiters and 18th by engineering school deans, and the deans ranked five of the college's graduate programs among the top 25 in their fields.

Aref will assume an endowed position on the faculty, the Reynolds Metals Professorship, and he will be tenured in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, pending approval from the University's Board of Visitors at its March meeting.

Until Aref's arrival in April, McNamee has appointed Ed Henneke as the interim dean of the College of Engineering. Henneke's appointment follows the retirement of Malcolm McPherson, who had served as interim dean from October of 2001 to December of 2002. Henneke joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1971 and has served in a variety of administrative positions.

Aref has spent the past ten years in his current position, except for a one-year appointment as interim Chief Information Officer for the institution. Prior to his tenure at the University of Illinois, Aref was a faculty member at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). He joined UCSD as an associate professor of fluid mechanics in 1985, when he also received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He was promoted to full professor in 1988. From 1989 until 1992 he held the concurrent position of Chief Scientist at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Aref received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1975. He earned his doctorate in physics, with a minor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, from Cornell University in 1980. He remained at Cornell for six months as a post doctoral research associate at its Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics, and spent the summer of 1980 at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In the fall of 1980, he joined the engineering faculty at Brown University as an assistant professor, where he remained until he joined the UCSD campus. He became a U.S. citizen in 1998.

Among his numerous recognitions, Aref received the 2000 Otto Laporte Award of the American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Mechanics, the Danish Center for Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, and the World Innovation Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congress Committee of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and is past chair of the US National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. He has lectured widely across the US and around the world.

Aref currently serves as co-editor (with Erik van der Giessen) of Advances in Applied Mechanics, and as an associate editor of Physics of Fluids. He served as associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics from 1984 until 1994, and was founding editor (with the late David G. Crighton) of the Cambridge Texts in Applied Mathematics from 1986 until 1995.

His research interests are in theoretical and computational fluid mechanics, particularly vortex dynamics, the application of chaos to fluid flows, and the mechanics of foams. He is co-editor of two books and author of some 70 papers in premier journals.

Aref and his wife, Susanne, have two children, Michael and Thomas, both of whom are graduate students at University of Illinois.