Age: 54

Hometown: Burlington, Vt.

Education: Received undergraduate degree from California Institute of Technology in 1978.

• Got his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1982.

Career path: Was a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware from 1989 to 2007.

• Named dean of the University of Delaware's College of Engineering in 2000.

• Appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University, New York, in 2007.

Claim to fame: This year, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

• In 1984, he was one of the first to receive a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.

• In 1995, he won the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society of Engineering Education.

• In 1998, he won the American Chemical Society Award in Colloid or Surface Chemistry.

• He is the author or co-author of one edited book and more than 200 papers.

• He holds 10 U.S. patents.

Family: Married to wife, Karen, for 31 years, has 24-year-old and 22-year-old sons.

Last book read: "Our Kind of Traitor" by John le Carré

Hobbies: Woodworking, baseball