Contact: Ellen Sterner or Melanie O’Brien 214-768-7650

March 3, 2004


SMU's Geoffrey C. Orsak (black and white)
SMU's Geoffrey C. Orsak (color)
SMU's Geoffrey C. Orsak (click on photos for high-resolution images)

DALLAS (SMU) -- Geoffrey C. Orsak, a nationally known leader in engineering education and a renowned expert in communications and signal processing, has been named dean of the Southern Methodist University School of Engineering, effective June 1, 2004.

Since arriving at SMU seven years ago, Orsak has held the positions of Associate Dean for Research and Development, Executive Director of the Institute for Engineering Education and Professor of Electrical Engineering.

In 2000 Dr. Orsak founded the Institute for Engineering Education, the first nationally funded entity to support the advancement of engineering education from kindergarten through graduate school. In this role, he created a number of award-winning programs, including The Infinity Project, Visioneering, the Math and Science Readiness Institutes and the Gender Parity Initiative. Today, these programs together reach millions of students in all fifty states of the country. While serving as associate dean, Dr. Orsak also initiated a highly recognized research development program which has since become a national model for helping early career engineering faculty become skilled at acquiring federal research support.

“Dr. Orsak has a unique blend of skills and contacts which make him ideally suited for his new role as dean of engineering. He is a proven leader, established researcher, and outstanding teacher with strong industry and federal ties,” says SMU Provost Ross Murfin.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner says, “Geoffrey Orsak brings tremendous intellectual ability and creative energy into a critical realm of America’s future viability: preparing students for technological innovation and engineering leadership. Our country’s leadership, competitiveness and security depend upon developing the next generation of students as the best engineers in the world. We are very excited that Geoffrey will be leading our School of Engineering to even greater heights during these important times.”

“Geoffrey Orsak has been an effective engineering education advocate and thought leader in articulating the need for all engineering schools in Texas to expand their impact on the broader student population. These efforts are already benefiting our state and economy with increases in the number of students pursuing engineering degrees in Texas,” says Phil Ritter, senior vice president, Texas Instruments.

Orsak is a noted author and speaker on the economic impact of engineering research, development and education. He is regularly invited to give testimony to Presidential commissions, as well as House and Senate committees on the economic and security benefits of funding for research and education in engineering. In addition, he serves as a consultant to the federal government on national security issues and technology policy. In 2003, Orsak was appointed to a 15-member blue ribbon panel of the National Academy of Engineering to evaluate the U.S. Marine Corps’ science and technology programs. Dr. Orsak serves on a number of national and state boards, including the IEEE Education Activities Board and the Executive Committee of the Texas Engineering and Technical Consortium.

An expert in communications and signal processing, Dr. Orsak is the author of numerous books and refereed publications on engineering research and education. He has been the lead researcher on more than 25 projects funded by federal, state and corporate grants and contracts totaling more than $7 million.

Among his many honors, Orsak was named Outstanding Contributor to the SMU School of Engineering for 2003, selected as Outstanding Electrical Engineering Professor for three consecutive years and was a 2003 finalist for the Tech Titan Award. In 2001, Orsak received the KPMG High Tech Award, and he has been named a Distinguished Lecturer of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). In addition, Orsak was one of 15 American scholars selected for the Defense Science Study Group, an elite program that focuses on the roles of science and engineering in national defense.

Dr. Orsak earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Rice University. Before joining the SMU faculty in 1998, Orsak taught at George Mason University where he also served as Presidential Fellow.


The SMU School of Engineering, which was founded in 1925, offers programs in engineering education designed to prepare students to be the technology leaders of the future. For more information on the school, visit its Web site at www.engr.smu.edu.