Record-high four engineering professors elected to National Academy of Engineering

Madlin Mekelburg

On Thursday, National Academy of Engineering announced that four professors in the Cockrell School of Engineering were elected to the academy this year.

Those elected were Gregory Fenves, provost and engineering professor; Thomas Edgar, director of the Energy Institute and chemical engineering professor; Yale Patt, engineering and computer science professor; and Bob Schutz, aerospace and mechanics professor.

The academy is a private, non-profit organization that honors individuals who establish themselves as leaders in their field. Individuals cannot apply to join the academy, instead they must be elected by the academy’s existing members. Members examine all engineering fields and look for individuals who have practiced, researched or studied engineering and those who have contributed significant advancements and new approaches to traditional engineering fields. 

 Fenves, Edgar, Patt and Schutz are four of 67 new members and 11 foreign associates elected to the academy in 2014, making UT the institution with the highest number of new members elected this year.

Sharon Wood, interim dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering and member of the academy, said she thinks this honor will help to attract higher caliber students.

“I think it really enhances our reputation, and it shows that our faculty are at the forefront of their fields,” Wood said. “I’m extremely proud of all the faculty, and the fact that we have this external recognition makes it clear that other people think highly of them too.”

According to Sandra Zaragoza, spokeswoman for the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Cockrell School has the fourth most members in the academy nationwide. In total, there are more than 6,000 members and foreign associates in the academy.

At Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting, Chairman Paul Foster applauded the four professors, as well as President William Powers Jr., for their achievement.

Clarification: The use of "record high" in the headline of this story is referring to the number of UT engineering professors elected in one year to the academy, a number it tied in 2014 with four elected members. UT also elected four professors in 1988 and 2005.