New Dean Appointed for SCU’s School of Engineering
Santa Clara welcomes Alfonso Ortega as the new dean for the School of Engineering.
Santa Clara University is pleased to announce that Dr. Alfonso Ortega, the James R. Birle Professor of Energy Technology and the founding associate vice president for research and graduate programs at Villanova University, will be appointed dean of Santa Clara’s School of Engineering and John M. Sobrato Professor.
Ortega, whose term will begin on Aug. 1, 2017, will provide overall academic, administrative, and financial leadership for the School of Engineering. He will report directly to Dennis Jacobs, University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Ortega greatly expanded graduate education and research at Villanova University. Moreover, he is in the vanguard of researchers seeking to solve the increasingly complex problem of cooling electronics integral to daily life, such as in laptop computers, mobile devices, and data centers.
Through 30 years of research contributions to the field, and his establishment of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Energy Smart Electronic Systems at Villanova University, Ortega has forged deep relationships with the U.S. electronics industry and garnered significant support from Silicon Valley technology companies such as Cisco, HP, Intel, Facebook, and Microsoft.
“Joining the community of Santa Clara University, the Jesuit university in Silicon Valley, is a dream come true,” said Ortega. “The need for highly trained engineers and scientists in core STEM fields has never been greater in our country. Santa Clara is at the forefront of developing inspiring and ethical STEM leaders who will lead the next wave of innovation. I am so excited to be a part of that mission in the heart of Silicon Valley, the very epicenter of that innovation. The prospect of helping Santa Clara broaden and deepen its relationships within the Valley is an opportunity that I relish. I have deep Bay Area roots, both professional and personal, and have a great affection for the area.”
Among his many accolades, Ortega was named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was also the recipient of the inaugural Distinguished Service Award from Southern Arizona Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) for his contributions to the math and science development of Southern Arizona’s underrepresented middle and high school students and their teachers. This award has since been named in his honor.
“Santa Clara University will benefit greatly from Dr. Ortega’s passion for engineering education, deep embrace of the School’s Jesuit Catholic mission, and vast administrative experience,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “He brings impressive credentials from his years serving as program director at the National Science Foundation and from his roles as associate dean of engineering and associate vice president for research and graduate programs at Villanova University.”
Ortega will succeed Dr. Godfrey Mungal, who has served as dean of the School of Engineering for the past 10 years.
Ortega earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He previously served as a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona and at Villanova University, as well as serving as program officer in the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation.