Kampe Appointed Chair of Materials Science and Engineering, Receives Franklin St. John Professorship

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Professor Stephen L. Kampe has been appointed chair of Michigan Technological University's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, effective July 1. In addition, he has been named the new Franklin M. St. John Professor in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.

Since coming to the University in 2008, Kampe's research has focused on physical metallurgy, in particular high-performance aerospace materials. He has served on the department's Undergraduate Program Committee and the Faculty and Professional Staff Development Committee and has represented his department in the University Senate.

"I'm obviously excited to be selected as chair," Kampe said. "The department is in great shape; [outgoing chair] Mark Plichta has done an excellent job positioning us for success. I am looking forward to further energizing our students, continuing our tradition of educating graduates with the skill sets they need to be successful in the workplace and in graduate school."

He also anticipates building relationships across the University.

"I hope the department can be a valuable resource for the College of Engineering and the University as a whole," Kampe said. "With our world-class facilities, we aim to establish good, collaborative relationships with researchers from many other disciplines."

"Steve Kampe is an excellent choice to lead the Department of Materials Science and Engineering," said Max Seel, Michigan Tech provost and vice president for academic affairs. "He has a strong base of support among the department chairs, faculty, staff, students and administrators. Dean Tim Schulz, incoming dean of engineering Bill Worek and I are excited about his vision, which integrates the academic mission of undergraduate education with a vision for research, graduate education and interaction with industry. We all look forward to a long and productive working relationship with Stephen.

"As I extend my best wishes to the new chair, I would also express my sincere thanks to Mark Plichta, who has chaired the department since 2002.

"I am also pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Kampe will be the first department chair in materials science and engineering to receive the Franklin St. John Endowed Professorship. Dr. Franklin St. John, a 1960 graduate of the department, recently gave permission to confer on a permanent basis the Franklin St. John Endowed Professorship upon the holder of the chair position in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The revenues from the endowed professorship will be used for laboratory enhancements and other needs as determined by the professorship holder."

"Receiving the Franklin St. John Professorship is a real honor. It's something I wasn't expecting," Kampe said. "I'm very appreciative. I think it's going to be a great tradition for the department."

The professorship, with a principal of nearly $1 million, was made possible by gifts from Franklin and Lorraine St. John. Franklin St. John also set up a $1 million bequest to benefit the endowment, which will create a $2 million endowed chair for the department through his estate.

St. John has received numerous honors from his alma mater, including an Honorary Doctorate of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and the Board of Trustees Silver Medal. Additionally, he is a member of the department's Academy of Materials Science and Engineering.

Before coming to Michigian Tech, Kampe was a professor and the associate head of the materials science and engineering department  at Virginia Tech from 1992 to 2008.  There, he received its Engineering Sporn Award, for teaching excellence in the College of Engineering, and was twice nominated for the National Academy of Engineering Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education for his role in establishing an acclaimed and highly effective engineering communications program.

Previously, Kampe served as a senior scientist at Martin Marietta and received the  Corporate Laboratories' Outstanding Achievement Award in 1991.

Kampe earned BS, MS and PhD degrees in Metallurgical Engineering at Michigan Tech. Among his professional affiliations, he is a member of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), where he serves on the board of review for Metallurgical and Materials Transactions and is a member of the society's Public and Governmental Affairs Committee. He is a coinventor on 10 patents, has advised more than 22 graduate students, and has published more than 60 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.