Dr. John F. Carney III, former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., will become the next chancellor at UMR, University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd announced today (Thursday, March 24, 2005).
Carney was selected from a list of three finalists developed by a committee of UMR faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Carney, 63, will begin his new duties on Sept. 1, 2005. He will succeed current UMR Chancellor Gary Thomas, who is completing his fifth and final year as chancellor.
"I am delighted that Dr. Carney has agreed to take the helm of Missouri’s premier technological university," President Floyd said. "I look forward to working with Dr. Carney and believe his extensive research, teaching and administrative experience will serve the University of Missouri-Rolla well."
UMR Chancellor Gary Thomas announced last year his plan to step down Aug. 31, 2005. "I will always be grateful for the leadership given by Chancellor Gary Thomas to UMR," President Floyd said.
As chancellor of UMR, Carney will oversee all academic and administrative operations of the 5,500-student campus. He will report to President Floyd, who oversees the four University of Missouri campuses.
"It is an honor to be selected to serve as chancellor of one of the nation’s best technological universities," Carney said. "I believe my background and experience in teaching, research and academic leadership will fit well with UMR’s mission and future direction."
President Floyd will formally recommend Carney to the UM Board of Curators at its April meeting.
"The committee was thrilled with the selection of Dr. Carney as UMR Chancellor," said Dr. Larry Gragg, Curators’ Teaching Professor of History and Political Science and chair of the search committee. "He was part of a very rich pool of well-qualified candidates."
A 39-year veteran of higher education, Carney served as WPI’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1996 through last fall. In that capacity, he hired more than half of the current tenured and tenure-track faculty. He was involved with the creation of the Center for Educational Development, Technology and Assessment, led the renovation of several WPI laboratories, bolstered the campus’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, and made WPI a more welcoming place for female faculty members.
Founded in 1865, WPI is one of the nation’s oldest technological universities. The 3,800-student campus offers bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in engineering, science and management, and has very strong departments in the humanities and arts and social sciences.
A civil engineer by training, Carney earned a bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., in 1963. He also earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. in 1964 and 1966 respectively.
Carney began his academic career at the University of Connecticut, where he served on the civil engineering faculty from 1966-1981. He then joined Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., as professor and head of the civil engineering department, a position he held until 1983, when he joined Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., as a professor of civil engineering. At Vanderbilt, he served as associate dean for graduate affairs (1989) and then associate dean for research and graduate affairs (1993). He joined the faculty and administration at WPI in 1996.
The field of impact mechanics has been Carney’s major research interest for more than 30 years. During this period, he was awarded a series of grants and contracts with the National Science Foundation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Federal Highway Administration, British Rail, the Advanced Railway Research Centre, and the Departments of Transportation in the States of Connecticut, Washington, Alabama, Georgia, Colorado, and Tennessee. This research activity resulted in the development and implementation of a whole series of impact attenuation devices employed in motorway safety applications in the United States and overseas. Carney holds nine patents in this area. In addition, his work with the railroad research community in Great Britain has led to new concepts for improving the crashworthiness of trains.
His current research activities center on developing reusable, maintenance-free impact attenuation devices for transportation safety applications. These safety devices are constructed with "smart" materials that restore themselves to their original shapes following an impact, thereby eliminating the need for costly repair operations and associated liability concerns. These reusable safety devices are now employed extensively throughout the United States and around the world.
Carney is the author of more than 140 technical publications in the area of structural mechanics. He was chair of Transportation Research Board Committee A2A04 – Roadside Safety Features for six years, and served as a longtime member of the Executive Committee of the Highway Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Carney has been active on numerous National Research Council committees. He is also a fellow of the American Society of Engineers.
Carney will come to Rolla with his wife, Patricia A. Carney. He will earn a base salary of $255,000 annually and will receive other benefits provided to chancellors, including use of a vehicle and residence.