Weekly Memo

September 8, 2015

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

       One of the highlights at our annual reception at Oak Hill Country Club last Thursday was the opportunity to recognize two very worthy recipients of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Staff Award.

       Mark Bocko, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering and recipient of numerous University awards for teaching excellence, has been an ideal mentor for creative young engineers. His love of music is reflected in the audio and music engineering program that he spearheaded; it is one of our fastest growing majors. He directs our state-funded Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, which helps match companies with university researchers, and which played a key role in laying the groundwork for our successful AIM Photonics proposal. He Technical Director for the Center for Future Health, where he and his colleagues develop cutting edge devices that help individuals monitor their own health. And Mark is also co-founder and CEO of ADVIS, a high-tech start up that provides integrated sensors for imaging and dynamic signal measurements. Those, indeed, are ample achievements for a lifetime, but I suspect Mark has even more up his sleeve!

      In the five years since Tony Green joined the Hajim School, he has quietly gone about transforming our budgeting and administrative processes as our Director of Finance and Administration. I know that sounds like pretty dry stuff, but believe me, we wouldn’t be where we are today without him. As many of you know, the school of engineering and applied sciences  was operating at a severe deficit, creating an untenable drain on the University endowment when I arrived here. Tony has been instrumental in getting our books in order, and introducing effective financial forecasting. He has introduced operating efficiencies that have benefited both our central office and departmental administrators. A growing school like this needs solid metrics to assess its performance and establish goals. Tony has played a major part in that effort. His colleagues here at our central office describe him as a great young leader, who is personable, even tempered, and responsive. We are truly fortunate to have him!

      Please join me in congratulating Mark and Tony on these well-earned awards.

      "Xi-Cheng Zhang is one of those incredibly positive individuals who defy statistics, and rise above the circumstances that they were dealt at birth," writes Peter Siegel, Editor-in-Chief, in this month's issue of the IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology. You will no doubt agree with this assessment after reading Peter's interview with Xi-Cheng, our M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics and Director of the Institute of Optics. Temporarily uprooted from his family during the Cultural Revolution, Xi-Cheng later displayed extraordinary resourcefulness as a brigade team leader during construction of a hydropower plant for a poor village on the outskirts of Beijing. It has been an interesting journey for this pioneering researcher, whose tireless efforts to promote an emerging field of research have made him the public "Face of THz." 

       Congratulations to Fabrizio Buccheri and Kang Liu, both Ph.D. students in Xi-Cheng's group at the Institute of Optics, who were recognized for the high quality of their research during a recent trip to China. Fabrizio gave a plenary lecture during the 5th Shenzhen International Conference on Advanced Science and Technology. He was the only student among all the other distinguished scientists to be invited to give a one-hour talk. Kang was awarded the prize for "best student presentation" at the 40th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter and Terahertz Waves held in Hong Kong. Good work!

      I encourage Hajim School students to check out the study abroad opportunities available through the IES program from 2-4 p.m. this Thursday in the Bridge Lounge of Wilson Commons. Pizza will be served!

As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean