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UM elevates Cheng to dean

OXFORD — Alexander H. D. “Alex” Cheng has been named dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

Cheng, chair and professor of civil engineering, joined the UM faculty in 2001 after having taught at the University of Delaware, Columbia University and Cornell University. He replaces Kai Fong Lee, who leaves the position June 30, but will remain on the faculty. Cheng assumes his new duties July 1.

Cheng’s achievements at UM include the 2004 School of Engineering Faculty Service Award and the 2007 Outstanding Engineering Faculty of the Year Award. Previous honors include the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Basic Research Award by the U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics and the Eminent Scientist Award from Wessex Institute of Technology.

A registered professional hydrogeologist, Cheng has founded two international conference series — the International Conference on Saltwater Intrusion and Coastal Aquifiers and the Biot Conference on Poromechanics. His is vice president of the Engineering Mechanics Institute of ASCE and formerly served as vice president of academic affairs of the American Institute of Hydrology.

Cheng holds a doctoral degree from Cornell University, master’s from the University of Missouri-Columbia and bachelor’s from National Taiwan University. His primary research interests are water resources, boundary element methods, mechanics of porous materials and nanomechanics. He is the principal investigator and co-principal investigator of several million-dollar research grants on nanocomposites, infrastructure protection and levee protection.

He has written two books and published more than 100 refereed journal papers. He has edited more than a dozen books and more than a dozen journal special issues. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and American Men and Women of Science.

A native of Taiwan, Cheng and his wife, Daisy, have two daughters, Jacqueline and Julia.

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