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April 4 , 2005

Leading Materials Engineer Linda E. Jones to Direct Smith College's Innovative Engineering Program

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—One of the country’s preeminent researchers in high-temperature materials, Linda E. Jones of Alfred University was recently named director of Smith College’s pioneering Picker Engineering Program.

Jones will begin July 1, succeeding Domenico Grasso and interim director Joseph O’Rourke, to lead the nation’s first engineering program at a women’s college.

“I am thrilled to become part of a program that is delivering an engineering education to truly prepare women for leadership roles in the 21st century,” said Jones. “Engineers at Smith are educated not simply to solve problems others have set for them but to identify problems and issues and, in doing so, to become responsible for the solution. Responsibility and leadership go hand in hand.”

A faculty member at Alfred University since 1991, Jones rose from assistant professor in ceramic engineering and materials science to professor and chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Program, a post she has held since 2003. Ceramic engineers create and combine materials for new applications such as human joint replacements that will be accepted by a body and last a lifetime.

Since joining Alfred University in western New York state, Jones has received 32 national grants and awards totaling nearly $3 million to fund her research. Her work examines novel forms of carbon, including carbon oxidation and diamond oxidation, high-temperature solid gas reactions and the environmental effects of ceramic and glass manufacturing.

“Linda is ideally suited for the extraordinary charge of graduating the critical thinkers and socially responsible decision makers who will shape our world,” said Provost Susan C. Bourque. “She is a gifted educator whose excitement about engineering is infectious.”

For her work in the classroom, Jones has received seven teaching awards, including the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Her administrative experience includes serving as president of the university’s Faculty Senate and a member of the university’s Strategic Planning Council. As chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Program, Jones recently coordinated its accreditation, a process that the Picker Engineering Program is now undergoing. She also serves as an executive member of the American Carbon Society and president-elect of the Ceramic Education Council.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mary Washington College in 1980, Jones received her master’s and doctoral degrees in fuel science from the Pennsylvania State University.

“In Linda, the program has a leading researcher, educator and administrator,” said O’Rourke, who led the search committee. “Within a strong pool of applicants, she was nothing short of remarkable.”

Smith’s Picker Engineering Program, begun in 1999, emphasizes rigorous coursework across engineering subjects in a liberal arts context. Of the 19 women who graduated in the first class, 90 percent are now pursuing engineering-related work or graduate school. Twenty-seven women are expected to graduate from the program this year.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174


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