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Jenkins appoints new dean to Notre Dame College of Engineering

| Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Patricia “Trish” J. Culligan, currently the chair of the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics department at Columbia University, has been named the new dean of the College of Engineering by University President Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame announced in a press release Monday. Culligan will enter her new role Aug. 1.

“Trish is a distinguished scholar, research engineer and respected academic leader,” Jenkins said in the release. “She brings to Notre Dame a creative cross-disciplinary approach, demonstrated success and a commitment to seek ways in which technological innovation will truly serve humanity. She will be a wonderful addition to our senior leadership team and University community.” 

Culligan received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. She also attended the University of Cambridge, where she earned a master’s degree in philosophy and a doctorate in engineering, according to the release. While at Columbia, she has received over $20 million in research funding, and has authored seven books, seven book chapters and many more articles and publications, the release said.

“During my visits to the campus, I sensed the strong enthusiasm and momentum in Notre Dame’s engineering programs,” Culligan said in the release. “The faculty has a distinguished reputation for engineering and scholarly excellence, and I am honored to be offered this opportunity to contribute to their continued success and growing stature.”

Culligan, a civil engineer, is an expert in the fields of environmental engineering and water resources. Her work focuses on building sustainability within urban infrastructure and energy and water management within communities, according to the release.

Currently, Culligan serves as the co-director of a $12 million research project sponsored by the National Science Foundation which concentrates on cultivating new models for city infrastructure to improve health and sustainability for urban communities, the release said.

“Working within and beyond the academy, Trish has built a consistent record of excellence,” Thomas J. Burish, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost at Notre Dame, said. “Her broad technical expertise, deep appreciation of the liberal arts, commitment to helping the underserved and educating the whole person and honed leadership ability make her an ideal candidate for the deanship. In addition, she is committed to further building programs and partnerships across the University and local community as well as with government and industry. We are thrilled that she accepted our offer to serve as dean.”

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