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William Wilcox to be Named Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Clarkson University

Clarkson Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering William R. Wilcox will be named distinguished professor emeritus at Clarkson University's 124th Commencement on May 13. He will be honored for exemplary service to the University.

William R. WilcoxForty-two years ago, Bill Wilcox joined Clarkson as chair of its outstanding chemical engineering department. Ten years later, he led the effort to organize a materials research center. In 1987, this center became a New York State Center for Advanced Technology, known as the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) and headed by Wilcox. Funding was received from the State both for annual operating expenses for the CAMP organization and for construction of the CAMP building. Wilcox helped develop the building design, including specification of offices, labs and classrooms.

In 1987, Wilcox was also appointed dean of engineering, a post he held for ten years. During that time, he oversaw development of a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering and its approval by Clarkson, the New York State Department of Education, and relevant accreditation organizations. Doctoral programs were also created for civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. Near the end of his term as dean, he led the effort to obtain funding from the National Science Foundation to organize and complete the move of the engineering school to the CAMP building.

Two years prior to coming to Clarkson, Wilcox began a 30-year association with NASA’s microgravity materials research program. This included both ground-based research and experiments in Skylab, the Space Shuttle, and sounding rockets, as well as two sets of experiments performed by Wilcox himself on the notorious “vomit comet” low-gravity aircraft.

A major activity in 1986 was organizing and then heading the Consortium for Commercial Crystal Growth in Space, with participation by several universities, companies, and national laboratories. “The most enjoyable aspect of working with NASA was getting know interesting people from around the world, including scientists, managers, engineers and astronauts,” said Wilcox.

“Serving as director of two centers and dean of engineering kept me extremely busy doing interesting and important things. But the most satisfying part was helping faculty members develop their research programs. I was able to assist in obtaining expensive equipment and obtain funding from government agencies and companies.”

During his half-century academic career, Wilcox received more than$19 million in external funding, and advised 31 doctoral students and 30 master's students. He also taught from the freshman level through advanced graduate courses. “Clarkson students are really great and it has been a pleasure getting to know them. It makes my day for a student or alum to say ‘thank you’ for helping in their career development.”

Wilcox also authored more than 260 publications, served in leadership roles in professional societies, and consulted for many companies, national laboratories, and universities. He was elected to membership in the International Academy of Astronautics and as a fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

In 2003, Wilcox was named “Clarkson Distinguished Professor” in recognition of his high level of scholarly achievement and service to the University.

He received his bachelor of engineering degree in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining Clarkson, he had worked eight years at TRW Semiconductors and the Aerospace Corporation, and was professor of materials science and chemical engineering at the University of Southern California.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

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