Trustees confirm 7 named, distinguished professors; approve resolution of appreciation

December 19, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Saturday (Dec. 19) ratified seven named and distinguished professors and approved a resolution of appreciation for eight donors who have given $1 million or more to Purdue.

Trustees approved Todor Cooklev as the Harris Chair of Wireless Communication and Applied Research in the College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Hilkka Kenttämaa as a distinguished professor of chemistry; James "Jess" Lowenberg-DeBoer as the College of Agriculture Professor of Excellence in International Entrepreneurship; Issam Mudawar as the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Srinivas Peeta as the Jack and Kay Hockema Professor in Civil Engineering; Arkady Plotnitsky as a distinguished professor of English; and Wojciech Szpankowski as the Saul Rosen Distinguished Professor of Computer Science.

Todor Cooklev

Todor Cooklev 
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Cooklev was the founding director of the Wireless Technology Center and has been at IPFW since 2008. He was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at San Francisco State University from 2003 until going to IPFW. He also worked on the technical staff of Aware Inc. and 3Com Corp.

His current research is focused on most aspects of modern wireless systems, including software-defined radio, hardware, software and digital signal processing. He is a member of the IEEE Standards Association.

He is also the co-founder and CEO of Adaptive RF, a start-up company at the intersection of cloud computing, big data and wireless communications.

Cooklev received his bachelor's degree from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and his doctorate from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Hikka Kenttamaa

Hilkka Kenttämaa  
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Kenttämaa is a professor of chemistry and has been at Purdue since 1983, when she was a visiting research scientist. She also was an assistant professor and associate professor of chemistry before being named professor in 1999. Before coming to Purdue, she was a research scientist at the Academy of Finland and at Helsinki University.

Her research involves organic and bioorganic mass spectrometry, including gas-phase ion chemistry and structural characterization of molecules in complex mixtures. She developed an approach to study the chemistry of organic free radicals involving the use of "distonic ions," which enables manipulation and study of radicals in the gas phase.

Kenttämaa received the Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry Award from the American Chemical Society in 2015, was elected to the Finnish Academy of Science in 2004, was a University Faculty Scholar at Purdue from 2001-06 and in 2009 received the Provost's Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor. In 2013 she received the Leadership Award of the College of Science. She is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and Finnish Mass Spectrometry Society.

She received her bachelor's degree and doctorate from Helsinki University.

James 'Jess' Lowenberg-DeBoer

James "Jess" Lowenberg-DeBoer  
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Lowenberg-DeBoer is a professor of agricultural economics and associate dean of the College of Agriculture. He also is director of International Programs in Agriculture. He joined the faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor and also served as an associate professor before becoming professor in 1998.

His research focuses on the economics of agricultural technology, and he has helped pioneer the use of spatial regression in analysis of crop sensor data. From 2008-14 he was the principal investigator for the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From 1997-2007 he was West Africa facilitator for the USAID Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program.

In 2012 Lowenberg-DeBoer received the highest honor given by the West African nation of Burkina Faso, the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Burkina Faso, for his work in improving storage of the cowpea crop. Among other recognitions, he also received the Temoinage Official de Satisfaction (Official Testimonial of Satisfaction) from the Ministry of Agriculture in the Republic of Niger in 1992, and the Quality of Communication Award from the American Society of Agronomy in 2001. He has published 79 articles in refereed journals, two books and chapters in six other books.

He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, his master's degree from Cornell University and his doctorate from Iowa State University.

Issam Mudawar

Issam Mudawar 
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Mudawar is a professor of mechanical engineering, and director of the Purdue Boiling and Two-Phase Flow Laboratory and the Purdue International Electronic Cooling Alliance. He came to Purdue as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was named an associate professor in 1989 and professor in 1993.

He researches phase change mechanisms and applications in energy, intelligent materials processing, space and electronics thermal management.

In 2013 Mudawar received the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Founder's Award and also received the 75th Anniversary Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Heat Transfer Division. He received the Charles Murphy Award for Outstanding Teaching from Purdue in 1997 and in 1999 became an inaugural member of the Book of Great Teachers. He was named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2015, and he received the Faculty Entrepreneurs Innovators Hall of Fame Award from the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization in 2012-13.

Mudawar received his bachelor's degree from American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and both his master's degree and doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Milton Hollander, who received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1951, is chair and CEO of Newport Electronics Inc. He and his late wife, Betty, established the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professorship in Mechanical Engineering.

Srinivas Peeta

Srinivas Peeta 
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Peeta is a professor of civil engineering and director of the NEXTRANS Center at Purdue. He came to Purdue in 1994 as an assistant professor of civil engineering. He became associate professor in 2000 and was named professor in 2006.

His research focus is on modeling and analysis of the dynamics of large-scale transportation systems, modeling and methodologies to address interdependencies among infrastructure systems, and real-time information-based navigation in vehicular traffic networks and connected and autonomous vehicles.

He received the 2009 Walter Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the 2012 College of Engineering Mentoring Award, Purdue's Seed for Success Award and the National Science Foundation Career Award.

Peeta earned his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras, India, his master's degree from the California Institute of Technology and his doctorate from the University of Texas.

Jack and Kay Hockema established the Jack and Kay Hockema Professorship in Civil Engineering. Jack, a Purdue graduate, became president, CEO and a director of Kaiser Aluminum in 2001. He received Purdue's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 2010, the Krannert Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award in 1995.

Arkady Plotnitsky

Arkady Plotnitsky 
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Plotnitsky is a professor of English and theory and cultural studies and is director of the Theory and Cultural Studies Program. He came to Purdue in 1998 as an associate professor of English and in 2000 became professor. He was named director of the Theory and Cultural Studies Program in 1999.

He researches theory and cultural studies, specializing in critical and cultural theory, British and European romanticism; continental philosophy; modernism and postmodernism; and relations among literature, philosophy and science.

Plotnitsky was a fellow in 2011 at the Center for Humanistic Studies at Purdue and from 2001-06 was a University Faculty Scholar. He received the College of Liberal Arts Discovery Excellence in the Humanities Award in 2014. He has written seven books and has co-authored two others.

He received his master's degree from Saint Petersburg State University in Russia and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Wojciech Szpankowski

Wojciech Szpankowski 
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Szpankowski is the Saul Rosen Professor of Computer Science and has been at Purdue since 1985, when he was named an assistant professor of computer science. He was named professor in 1992. Before coming to Purdue, he was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Technical University in Gdansk, Poland, from 1980-83, and was an assistant professor of computer science from 1983-84 at McGill University in Montreal.

His research interests include the analysis and design of algorithms, information theory including multimedia compression, random structures, analytic combinatorics, bioinformatics, performance evaluation, networking, and stability problems in distributed systems.

Winner of the inaugural 2015 Arden L. Bement Award, one of Purdue's top three awards for research, Szpankowski also received the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in 2010. He also is a Humboldt fellow, fellow of the IEEE and an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury. He has served on top editorial boards and gave the Helsinki Distinguished Lecture Series on Future Information Technology in 2014.

Szpankowski received his master's degree and doctorate from the Technical University of Gdansk in electrical engineering and computer science.

Resolutions were approved for donors Sandra J. Dauch (Purdue University), Jeanette T. Gill (College of Veterinary Medicine), Indiana Corn Marketing Council (College of Agriculture), Indiana Soybean Alliance (College of Agriculture), Wayne K. Jennings (College of Agriculture); Mary Louise Miller (College of Engineering), Thomas and Martha Murdock (Honors College) and anonymous (Purdue University). All of the donors contributed $1 million or more. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, 

Sources: Deba Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity,

Todor Cooklev,

Hilkka Kenttämaa, 765-494-0882,

James Lowenberg-DeBoer, 765-494-6876,

Issam Mudawar, 765-494-5705, 

Srinivas Peeta, 765-494-2209,

Arkady Plotnitsky, 765-494-3770,

Wojciech Szpankowski, 765-494-6703, 

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