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Steven McLaughlin Named Dean of Engineering

Aug 2, 2017

Following an international search, Steven W. McLaughlin, the Steve Chaddick School Chair and professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), has accepted the role of dean in the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair, effective Sept. 15. 

“Steve has provided steadfast leadership as a distinguished faculty member and administrator, and has demonstrated a deep commitment to Georgia Tech and the College of Engineering,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair. “His time at Georgia Tech has shown him to be bold and forward thinking about the Institute as a global university and provider of entrepreneurial education to the next generation of learners. That will serve him well as dean. I know working with Steve in the uncompromising pursuit of excellence will make the College of Engineering better than ever.”

As dean, McLaughlin will lead the nation's largest engineering program, which enrolls more than 13,000 students across eight schools and departments and has all of its undergraduate and graduate programs ranked in the top 10 in their fields by U.S. News & World Report. During an open seminar hosted June 26 on campus, McLaughlin shared his thoughts on the future of the College of Engineering in the 21st century. During the talk titled “Being Fearless in an Age of Acceleration,” McLaughlin outlined a vision in which the College will “think bigger, act bolder, and collaborate more.”

“I am both delighted and humbled by this chance to serve as dean of one of the world’s finest engineering programs,” said McLaughlin. “After 21 years at Georgia Tech, it is a privilege to lead the college to even greater heights in the future. I look forward to working with our truly outstanding faculty, students, alumni, and staff in the months ahead. The dean’s role is about people and the partnerships, relationships, and connections that make the entire College and institution a success. I am ready to continue and grow those collaborations.”

McLaughlin holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University, a Master of Science in Engineering from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech in 1996 and was named Steve W. Chaddick School Chair for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2012. He is married to Mary Fisher and they have one son William who will be a first-year student this Fall at the University of Colorado – Boulder.

From 2007-2012, he was Vice Provost for International Initiatives and Steven A. Denning Chair in Global Engagement. As Vice Provost, he was responsible for Georgia Tech’s global engagement in research, education, and economic development. He was a Ken Byers Professor from 2005-2012 and was previously Deputy Director of GT Lorraine. He was awarded the honor Knight of the National Order of Merit from the Republic of France in 2011. He co-founded CREATE-X, a campus-wide effort to instill entrepreneurial confidence in students and help them launch companies. In its first three years, the program has successfully launched 72 student-led companies and engaged 1100+ students in the principles and practice of evidence-based entrepreneurship.  

He was the first Georgia Tech recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 1998, and was President of the IEEE Information Theory Society in 2005. His research interests are in the general area of communications and information theory and has published in the areas of coding and signal processing for wireless communications, physical layer security, quantum key distribution, and data storage. He co-founded Whisper Communications and has published more than 250 papers and holds 36 U.S. patents.

McLaughlin was one of four finalists in the international search for the College of Engineering’s new leader. The 15-member search committee was chaired by Julia Kubanek, associate dean for Research, College of Sciences, professor of Biological Sciences, and professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Jennifer Herazy, associate provost for Operations, served as search director.

“Under the guidance of Provost Bras, the search committee did a tremendous job, and we congratulate Steve on his selection as dean,” said President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “We look forward to Steve’s visionary and collaborative leadership, as he leads one of the pre-eminent engineering programs in the world. I am confident that the College of Engineering here at Georgia Tech is in good hands and look forward to working with Steve in this new leadership role.”