Anna Lynn Spitzer
March 28, 2016 - The Henry Samueli School of Engineering has announced the creation of a new endowed presidential chair in electrical engineering and computer science, named in honor of a former Samueli School dean and his wife. The Nicolaos G. and Sue Curtis Alexopoulos Presidential Chair in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Irvine is funded by the Samueli Foundation, the Opus Foundation and the University of California’s Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs.
The $2 million endowment – $1.4 million from the Samueli Foundation, $100,000 from the Opus Foundation and $500,000 from a UC fund established to encourage development of endowed chairs universitywide – will support faculty salaries, graduate fellowships, and teaching, research and service activities in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), the engineering school’s original department.
“This presidential chair is so significant because it is connected to one of our most important departments from the perspective of national impact,” said Gregory Washington, the Samueli School Stacey Nicholas dean of engineering. “EECS has been a pillar in the engineering school since its inception, and this endowment ensures the continued strength of our EECS department in the coming years.”
Nicolaos “Nick” Alexopoulos, who joined the UC Irvine faculty in 1997 as engineering school dean and EECS professor, quickly set about improving the school’s programs and facilities. He spearheaded the creation of the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) and the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility (INRF). He also established the first named school on UCI’s campus in 1999, when the engineering school formally became The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Immediately thereafter he founded the Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing. The funding from these last two institutions helped him initiate, support and bring to reality the UCI branch of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). Alexopoulos also was responsible for successfully launching the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2002.
During his tenure as dean, Alexopoulos, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an ISI highly cited author, also oversaw the creation of the Center for Engineering Science in Design, a multidisciplinary graduate program called “LifeChips” and the establishment of the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology.
He retired from UCI in 2008 and was named vice president for RF technologies, antennas and university relations at Broadcom Corp. He currently serves as vice president for academic programs and university relations at the Broadcom Foundation.
“This is an extraordinary surprise and honor for which I am grateful to Henry and Susan Samueli and Stacy Nicholas. Their friendship and support throughout the years of me, but most importantly of our students and faculty is exemplary,” Alexopoulos said. “I am also grateful to Dean Gregory Washington for initiating and bringing to reality this great honor and for establishing it in my department of electrical engineering and computer science.
“Finally, it has been a great privilege to be a faculty member of the University of California, and I am thankful for this presidential chair, which is in recognition of my dedication to our university for almost four decades.”