Linda Katehi’s work in electronic circuit design has led to national and international awards as both an educator and a technical leader, along with close to two dozen U.S. patents. This seems a natural career path for a scholar and scientist who obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1977 from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, followed by master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1981 and ’84.
But this barely scratches the surface of an impressive career that includes membership in the National Academy of Engineering, chair of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and chair (until 2010) of the President’s Committee for the National Medal of Science.
And, not to be overlooked, in August 2009 Katehi became the sixth chancellor of UC Davis, and the first woman to hold this post.
Katehi’s academic career included stints as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she also became associate dean for academic affairs and graduate education in that campus’ College of Engineering; a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, where she became the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering; and provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
From her earliest years as a faculty member, Katehi has focused on expanding research opportunities for undergraduate students, and improving the education and professional experience of graduate students, with an emphasis on under-represented groups.
She continues to honor this commitment to the educational experience. “I am proud to be a part of a place that understands that this is a campus living within a community,” she said, during a gracious acceptance speech upon being named UC Davis chancellor, “and that the well-being of the community is a prerequisite to the success of this institution.
“This campus produces some of the brightest minds and most ambitious scholarship and research. The students who leave this campus become leaders in government, industry and academe.”
In Katehi’s case, these aren’t mere words: Twenty-two of the 44 doctoral students who graduated under her supervision have become faculty members in research universities in the United States and abroad. Each day, she continues to demonstrate her ability to help direct UC Davis’ vibrant future.
For more information on the College of Engineering’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, please email Oliver Ramsey.