New chief academic officer named
John F. Carney III, professor of civil engineering and associate dean of research and graduate studies at Vanderbilt University, is WPI's new provost. President Edward A. Parrish announced the appointment, which is effective July 1. Carney will succeed Diran Apelian, who will return to his post as Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering and will become director of the Institute's newly established Metal Processing Institute (MPI).
Originally from Lowell, Mass., Carney earned his bachelor's degree at Merrimack College and his master's and doctoral degrees in structural mechanics at Northwestern University.
"Professor Carney brings a distinguished career in teaching, research and administration to our campus," says Parrish. "He has had a close and harmonious relationship with the engineering faculty at Vanderbilt and served on numerous committees. He considers himself a faculty member first and an administrator second, and holds the firm belief that the two should work together in partnership for the good of the institution."
The new provost began his career in 1966 at the University of Connecticut School of Engineering. In 1981, he left UConn to become professor and head of the Civil Engineering Department at Auburn University. He moved on to a senior faculty position at Vanderbilt two years later. Appointed associate dean for graduate affairs in 1989, Carney's responsibilities expanded in 1993 when he assumed his most recent position.
Carney's research interests include impact loading of structures, highway safety, elasticity, plates and shells, and structural vibrations and stability. He is an expert in highway safety who chairs the executive committee of the Highway Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His research activities in theoretical and applied mechanics have resulted in the development of impact attenuation devices (crash cushions) used in highway safety applications. These crash cushions save lives and make the highways less hazardous for motorists.
Carney has been an advisor to doctoral students, is the author of more than 140 articles and proceedings, and holds patents in highway attenuation systems. He is a registered professional engineer in Connecticut and Tennessee, and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon and Sigma Xi honor societies, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Carney and his wife, Patricia, a medical librarian, are the parents of two grown daughters. Anna Patricia is a Vanderbilt graduate in molecular biology and French who received masterŐs degrees in environmental engineering and French literature from Cornell University. Catherine Holly received her bachelor's degree in art and computer science from Northwestern University and is a computer scientist in Chicago.
"I am very pleased to join the WPI community," says Carney. "I have been an admirer of the institution since it introduced the WPI Plan over 25 years ago. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to further improve the quality of its undergraduate and graduate programs and the quality of life on campus. On a personal note, Patricia and I are delighted to be moving back to New England."
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