It is with mixed feelings that I sit down and pen this, my last Chair’s Chat before stepping down. The years seem to have flown by since I first assumed the Chair position in 2006. During that time the Department has recruited five talented new faculty members, several of whom are now well-established in their fields of research. Once green graduate students are now in academe themselves, or leading teams in industry, and there have been 10 graduating classes of students. In common with the rest of the faculty, I am always impressed by the transformation from fresh-faced sophomores to confident seniors, and then to accomplished, successful alums.
Looking back it has been a wonderful blur of SMS banquets (and skits), Lehigh Commencements, and the much anticipated visits of the Lehigh marching band on the Friday before Lehigh-Lafayette. The department (and the materials field in general) has also seen tremendous advances in instrumentation, including the acquisition of an electron microscope that can image and analyze single atom columns, and 3-D printers that can transform (almost) any imaginable shape into reality.
The 125 year celebration was clearly a bright spot in this tapestry of recollections, as well as the renovation of several of our laboratory areas. Sadly, the years have also seen the passing of several dear friends and colleagues, but they live on through their scholarly work and in the collective memories of our faculty and alums.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my faculty colleagues for all of their support and unfailing good humor, and to the wonderful MSE staff that are the bedrock of this department. Thank you all, and a special thank you to Charles Lyman for his outstanding service as Associate Chair. Moving forward I want to convey my best wishes to our incoming Chair, Wojtek Misiolek; I know that the Department will be in very good hands.
Helen M. Chan
Chair & New Jersey Zinc Professor