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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2007 / 03 

Kennedy named research director at Institute for Advanced Learning and Research

March 8, 2007

John M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films at Clemson University, has been named the first full-time senior director of research and development at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Va.

Through research, innovation, technology development and transfer, education, and outreach, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) promotes economic diversification and development in Virginia’s southern counties, known as Southside. Virginia Tech, Averett University, Danville community college, the Future of the Piedmont Foundation, Pittsylvania County, City of Danville, local K-12 school systems, government agencies, and local businesses are partners in the institute.

“Dr. Kennedy has directed a successful research program at Clemson and has experience in topics that can help advance industry in Southside Virginia,” said Brad Fenwick, vice president for research at Virginia Tech, upon announcing the appointment. “We are confident that he will expand partnerships and create innovative advanced programs, while continuing the distinctive programs already underway.”

Kennedy, who had worked at Clemson since 1984, was professor of mechanical engineering. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. from Clemson. He has done extensive research on metal and ceramic matrix composites and fibers.

IALR faculty members are part of the Virginia Tech engineering and life sciences research community, with interdisciplinary programs in mechanical engineering, polymer chemistry, robotics, and plant genomics. Research programs underway are the Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources, the Advanced and Applied Polymer Processing Institute, the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER), and the Joint Unmanned Systems Test, Experimentation, and Research center. The programs have been awarded more than $15 million in external research funding over the past two years.

“The IALR research programs are starting to take off. Dr. Kennedy will be a great addition,” said Jim Blair, recently retired associate vice president for research at Virginia Tech who has been working with IALR’s research programs since his retirement. “Dr. Kennedy’s experience with the center at Clemson qualifies him to provide direction and focus to help build the IALR programs.”

Kennedy became deputy director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films in 1998 and director in 2004. Between graduating from Virginia Tech in 1977 and going to work at Clemson, he was a research engineer at NASA Langley Research Center.

He started at IALR on March 5. He will be based at the institute and live in the Danville area.