Assanis to be U of Delaware President


NEW YORK – The march of Greek-Americans to the top of every field continues.  Dennis Assanis, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University, is preparing to take the reins as president of the University of Delaware after a unanimous vote its Board of Trustees late last year.

Assanis will take office on July 1 and Nancy M. Targett will continue to serve as UD’s acting president until then.

“Dr. Assanis has an impressive record as an academic leader, a distinguished scholar and an inspiring educator,” John R. Cochran, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said, adding, “I am confident that his personal commitment to the power of education and his extensive experience in the classroom and the laboratory will serve the University of Delaware well in the years to come.”

Trustees Terri Kelly and Don Puglisi, who co-chaired the Presidential Search Committee, said Assanis was the committee’s unanimous choice. “We were privileged to have a rich pool of top-level candidates for this position. Dennis Assanis’ combination of administrative experience and outstanding academic credentials clearly set him apart,” Kelly said, and Puglisi added, “Dr. Assanis is deeply concerned with the issues facing higher education today, including affordability, diversity and the future of research innovation.”

Assanis said, “I am truly honored and thrilled to serve as the next president of the University of Delaware… Together, I know we can build on this rich legacy…we have a historic opportunity to seize the momentum that UD has built.”

Targett said, “I am looking forward to supporting the upcoming presidential transition. I will work with the trustees and the UD leadership to ensure that Dennis Assanis is well informed about UD and its many assets – most especially its great people – when he takes office on July 1.”

Dennis Assanis is a distinguished educator with a wide range of academic leadership experience and a worldwide reputation as a scholar and expert in both fundamental and applied studies of internal combustion engines and energy systems.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of Stony Brook, said “On behalf of Stony Brook University, I extend sincere congratulations to Provost Assanis; we are grateful for his thoughtful and strategic leadership, and for all he has accomplished during his time here…The University of Delaware is fortunate to have successfully recruited a leader with Dennis’ capabilities, and I have no doubt that he will lead UD to continued success.”

Since 2011, Assanis has served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University and as vice president for Brookhaven National Laboratory Affairs. At Stony Brook, he has spearheaded the development of a strategic plan for academic affairs and launched a number of initiatives strengthening the faculty, programs for undergraduate and graduate students, research and scholarly activities, and global engagement.

He significantly enhanced the strategic relationship between Stony Brook and Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and played an instrumental role in the leadership that successfully re-competed for the management of BNL. He also led a $20 million fundraising effort at Stony Brook to create an endowed Institute for Advanced Computational Science for interdisciplinary research.

Before joining Stony Brook University, Dr. Assanis had a distinguished career at the University of Michigan for 17 years. He was the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Professor of Engineering and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, as well as director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, founding director of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center for Clean Vehicles and director of the Walter E. Lay Automotive Laboratory.

Assanis started his academic career as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and has affiliations with universities in China and South Korea.

He has an exceptional research record and has been at the leading edge in the field of internal combustion engines, fuels and energy for more than 25 years .  Assanis holds five patents and has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for his teaching and research.

His wife, Eleni Assanis, is president of a consulting company, Assanis & Associates Inc. and they have two adult sons, Nicholas and Dimitris.

“My wife, Eleni, and I are looking forward to becoming part of the Blue Hen community and getting to know the students, faculty and staff of UD,” Assanis said.


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