Chemistry and Mathematics gain new department heads

Two College of Science department heads ended their appointments June 30.

Laszlo Lempert, who had been head of the Department of Mathematics since 2011, announced his resignation in January for the end of June. The new Math department head is now Greg Buzzard, a professor of mathematics at Purdue since 2002. Buzzard’s leadership started July 1.

Lempert said his time as a department head had its challenges but was also “very rewarding.” He will return immediately to teaching and his research.

Buzzard (pictured) hopes to keep Math’s momentum strong.

Greg Buzzard

“The math department plays a vital role in the educational and research missions of Purdue,” he stated. “We enroll thousands of students in our classes each year, and our scholarship is well-represented in top academic journals, in partnership with other departments and with industry, and in external funding.  Some of our efforts face challenges and opportunities in the form of technological and economic changes.  However, Dean Roberts is committed to working with us to find both traditional and innovative approaches in order to build a thriving department. 

“This position brings with it a great deal of responsibility, but also a great deal of support from wonderful colleagues and an excellent staff.  I'm grateful to be able to rely on so many people who care deeply about the math department.” 

In Chemistry, Paul Shepson’s five-year term as department head came to an end June 30 as well.  In the interim, Tim Zwier, the M.G. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, will serve as departmental leader.

“Tim has a deep understanding of Chemistry and a great deal of administrative experience, including a very successful term as Department Head,” said Jeff Roberts, the Frederick L. Hovde dean of the College of Science. “Anyone who knows Tim appreciates that he will be successful in the very important role of interim head.

“Tim’s interim appointment is for an unspecified term. Tim and I will consult with members of the department over the next several months about key challenges and issues facing Chemistry, including when to launch a search for the next head.

Shepson has made a definitive mark on Chemistry.

“Paul has provided strong leadership, and he has been a passionate advocate for the Department of Chemistry,” Roberts said. “I have very much admired Paul’s ability to demand the many demands of administration with an incredible level of research activity. It has been impressive to watch.”

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