Dr. Donald Weinkauf appointed dean of the School of Engineering

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Donald Weinkauf has accepted the position of dean of the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas, effective July 1, 2008. Dean Weinkauf will replace the school’s founding dean, Dr. Ron Bennett, who will return to the full-time faculty.

Weinkauf joins St. Thomas from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where he is chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering – a department he helped found 12 years ago. Prior to joining New Mexico Tech, he was a research engineer with Shell Oil Company.

Dr. Donald Weinkauf

Under Weinkauf’s leadership, Chemical Engineering at New Mexico Tech has grown to include 7 percent of all New Mexico Tech undergraduates. A student-centered leader, Weinkauf won the 2001 New Mexico Tech Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2005, he was honored nationally for his leadership in Chemical Engineering education with a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

Weinkauf has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary and applied engineering education, two traits that are core to the mission of our School of Engineering. He has also been highly successful in raising sponsored research funds for projects that include student research. His own research has focused on exploring radio-frequency plasma processes for the production of conformal thin-films, including the surface modification of nanoparticles. Applications of this work exist in membrane separations, fuel cells, ink formulations, microsensors and composite materials.

Weinkauf observes that "the nature of our world, and the increasing complexity of solutions to our most pressing problems, requires that we cultivate engineers who can fully appreciate the societal context of their work. The values-based education and strong liberal arts foundation at St Thomas is positioning our graduates to be leaders in the engineering profession. I am truly looking forward to being a part of the St. Thomas community and continuing to foster a leading educational environment where students become engaged in a lifelong love of learning."

A native of Wisconsin, Weinkauf has a B.S. in chemical engineering from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Weinkauf, his wife, Holly, and their three children, Roan (5), Eli (8), and Madeline (10), will move to Minnesota in midsummer.

Please join me in welcoming Weinkauf and his family to the University of St. Thomas.