Portrait of Gary Tepper, Ph.D., interim dean of VCU College of Engineering.
Gary Tepper, Ph.D., interim dean of VCU College of Engineering (Photo by Dan Wagner, VCU Engineering)

Gary C. Tepper named interim dean of VCU College of Engineering

He succeeds Barbara D. Boyan, who has been named executive director of the VCU Institute for Engineering and Medicine.

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Virginia Commonwealth University today announced that Gary C. Tepper, Ph.D., has been named interim dean of the VCU College of Engineering. He succeeds Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., who has been named executive director of the college’s Institute for Engineering and Medicine.

“I am fully committed to the success of the College of Engineering and am honored to serve in this capacity,” said Tepper, who previously served as chair of VCU’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. “I look forward to working with our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to advance the college and continue its important work in student-centered experiential learning, workforce development, community engagement, inclusivity and high-impact research.”

During his tenure, Tepper will focus on continued growth in the undergraduate and graduate programs, supporting faculty in their teaching and research and optimizing the student experience.

“The college is committed to its mission to create innovative, sustainable and equitable solutions to global engineering challenges,” Tepper said. “The future could not be brighter for the college and our graduates, who are in high demand and changing the world as ‘Ram Engineers.’” 

Tepper began his career at VCU in 1997 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and to full professor in 2006. Since his appointment as chair of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering in 2009, the department has been recognized in national rankings for its graduate program and online master’s program, and received a unique double accreditation in mechanical and nuclear engineering by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc.

Tepper’s research focuses on advanced functional materials. He has published more than 80 papers, has been issued seven U.S. patents, and has been principal investigator on grants totaling more than $6.8 million. In addition to university- and college-level service, he currently serves as vice chair of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority and as a member of the editorial board for the journal Molecules. He is a fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials and a member of the American Nuclear Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. Earlier this spring, Tepper was inducted into the VCU chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

He received his Ph.D. in engineering sciences from the University of California at San Diego and was a postdoctoral fellow of engineering physics at the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center.

Boyan, a nationally acclaimed researcher and entrepreneur, came to VCU in 2013 from the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, where she served as associate dean for research and innovation. Her laboratory is focused on research in all aspects of bone and cartilage biology, focusing on how cells interact with biomaterial surfaces. Her recent research developments include novel technologies for controlling nanotexture on metal and polymer surfaces in order to study cell responses for regenerative medicine applications.

VCU’s College of Engineering was established in 1996 as a public-private partnership to address the need for engineering innovation in a 21st-century economy. The college’s research collaborations with industry, community and academic partners regularly yield breakthroughs in pharmaceutical engineering; smart cities, sustainability and clean energy; materials development; health care, regenerative medicine, rehabilitation and medical device development; data science and better security for cyber and cyber-physical systems. Its multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial approach to engineering education immerses undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in meaningful research investigations throughout their studies.