John Y. Walz, a professor and head of the chemical engineering department at Virginia Tech, has been named the 10th dean of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. He will begin Sept. 1.
Walz will replace Thomas W. Lester, who is stepping down from the position he has held since 1990. The longest-tenured dean in the College of Engineering's history, Lester will remain a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering upon completion of his responsibilities as dean.
Walz earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Tulane University before spending six years as a process support engineer for Shell Oil Co. In 1988, he left Shell to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 and returned to Tulane as an assistant professor. In 1997, Walz joined Yale University's faculty as an associate professor of chemical engineering, becoming the department's chairman in 2002. He remained at Yale until 2005, when he assumed his current position of professor and head of the department of chemical engineering at Virginia Tech.
Walz was the chair of the American Chemical Society Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry in 2011. He has been the primary investigator or co-primary investigator on 26 grant awards, including more than $3.3 million in awards since 2002.