New Provost Announced at WPI

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. -- John F. Carney III, professor of civil engineering and associate dean of research and graduate studies at Vanderbilt University, has been named provost of Worcester Polytechnic Institute effective July 1, WPI President Edward A. Parrish has announced. He will succeed Diran Apelian who will return to teaching and research at WPI.

Provost-elect Carney, originally from Lowell, Mass. earned his bachelor's degree at Merrimack College and his master's and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University in structural mechanics.

"Professor Carney brings a distinguished career in teaching, research and administration to our campus," says President 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. He was appointed associate dean for graduate affairs in 1989 and his responsibilities expanded in 1993 when he took on his present title.

"I am very pleased to join the WPI community, having been an admirer of the institution since it introduced its WPI Plan over 25 years ago," says Carney. "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, my wife, Patricia, and I are delighted to be moving back to New England."

Carney's research interests include impact loading of structures, highway safety, elasticity, plates and shells, and structural vibrations and stability. He is a renowned expert in highway safety and serves as chair of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Roadside Safety Features and is chair of 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 cushios sacve lives and make the highways less hazardous for motorists.

He has been a major advisor to doctoral and students and is the author of more than 140 articles amd proceedings. He also holds patents in highway attenuation systems.

Professor Carney and his wife, a medical librarian, are the parents of two daughters, now grown. Anna Patricia, a Vanderbilt graduate in molecular biology and French, also attended Cornell where she received her master's degrees in environmental engineering and French Literature. She and her husband both work in Southern California but are relocating to New England. Catherine Holly, the second daughter, received her bachelor's degree in art and computer science from Northwestern and is a computer scientist in Chicago.

He is a registered professional engineer in both Connecticut and Tennessee and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon, and Sigma Xi honorary societies. Professor Carney is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers.