John Lambropoulos: 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award

As two-time chair of mechanical engineering–and as associate director of the Center for Freeform Optics and former director of the Materials Science Program–John Lambropoulos is creating a lasting legacy.

“In a career that spans almost forty years of exemplary service at the University of Rochester, John’s achievements as scholar, teacher, mentor, and Department Chair are simply exceptional,” says his colleague and current department chair Renato Perucchio.

“Upon stepping down from Chair in 2019, he left behind a Department that he had profoundly contributed to shape into a vibrant scholarly community with shared high standards in teaching, research, and service. In many important ways, today’s Department reflects John’s values.”

John LambropoulosFor example, during his most recent term as chair, John was closely involved in hiring 14 new faculty members, including five early career award winners. The new hires also included four women in five years. He has forged strong ties with the other engineering departments and with the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. The links with LLE have helped advance the University’s exciting new initiative in high energy density physics.

John has championed study abroad, and the Archaeology, Technology and Historical Structures program.

After stepping down as department chair, John continues to serve the University community in influential roles. He is currently the AS&E Faculty Development and Diversity Officer, working together with Beth Olivares and the AS&E Deans to develop materials for training new faculty members and, perhaps more importantly, address long-term diversity issues in small, yet impactful steps. Very recently, he was elected to serve a 3-year term on the UR Faculty Senate.

John especially excels as a teacher.

“Students love John’s courses, and he develops excellent academic relations with all his students. John is also a superb mentor of graduate students, having supervised more than fifty MS and PhD theses,” said Hajim Dean Wendi Heinzelman in announcing the award.

John clearly communicates even the most difficult concepts. “His animated personality completely takes over the room and leaves me wishing to do nothing more than watch my professor teach a subject he has been teaching for years,” one student noted. (Read more here.) As a result, John has received the University’s top awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching.