Engineering dean Holder announces resignation

By Henry Glitz | News Editor

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Dean of Engineering Gerald Holder announced yesterday he will step down and return to the faculty after 21 years of leading the Swanson School of Engineering.

Holder’s departure from the position will take effect before the beginning of the Fall semester in 2018. Pitt plans to begin the search process for a successor in the next few months, according to a press release.

During his term as dean, Holder helped to significantly grow the size of the Swanson School, with the undergraduate and graduate engineering student body doubling in size and the number of PhD students tripling. Women’s representation increased by nearly 50 percent in the Swanson School’s engineering student body and by more than 75 percent in engineering faculty since Holder became dean in 1996.

As a distinguished service professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, Holder will return to the Swanson School’s faculty in 2018 — something senior Pitt administrators, including Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, say they are grateful for.

“While I will certainly miss Gerry’s many contributions as dean, I am grateful that he will remain an active faculty member and continue to strengthen our Swanson School’s bright future,” Gallagher said in a press release.

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia Beeson said Holder’s tenure will have a lasting impression on the Swanson School.

“Through a focus on innovation and excellence, Dean Holder has led a transformation of the Swanson School of Engineering,” Beeson said. “And with nearly three-quarters of the faculty hired while he has been dean, the culture of success that he has established will remain long after he steps down.”

Holder oversaw a near-tripling of funds dedicated to sponsored research in the school. The school established the Department of Bioengineering under his guidance, and developed both the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and the Gertrude E. and John M. Peterson Institute of NanoScience and Engineering during his time as dean.

“Two words come to mind when I look back on Jerry’s incredible career as dean of our Swanson School of Engineering: tremendous growth,” Gallagher said.

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