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April 2017

Alfonso Ortega

Alfonso Ortega

New Dean Appointed for Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering

Dr. Alfonso Ortega brings a passion for engineering education and will start Aug 1


Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering Welcomes New Dean to Mission Campus


SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 26, 2017. 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 Dr. 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 at Santa Clara University 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.

About the School of Engineering
The School of Engineering is dedicated to preparing students for professional excellence, responsible citizenship, and service to society. Santa Clara’s dynamic programs in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, sustainable energy, applied mathematics, and engineering management & leadership provide the theoretical and practical instruction necessary for professional excellence. The School believes that combining expert instruction, a commitment to personalized mentoring, and the promotion of an ethical and entrepreneurial mindset in the curriculum produces a class of engineers who are not only technically outstanding, but excellent citizens as well. For more information, see

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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