University of Virginia Department of
    Computer Science

Wulf Departing for NAE Position

From Cavalier Daily
April 18, 1997
By Patricia Anyaso

The National Academy of Engineering elected William A. Wulf, a University engineering and applied sciences professor, as the academy's new president Monday.

The NAE is a private, non-profit organization based in Washington that operates under a U.S. congressional charter. The NAE, founded in 1964, provides the U.S. government with advice about science and technology issues.

The NAE's primary focus is to advise the federal government in the area of science education for children in grades K-12 and support institutions of higher education by making investments in research, Wulf said.

Wulf, elected as the Academy's interim president July 17, had to endure another selection process to become president. The 1,890 NAE members elected Wulf in favor of the other nominee, Eugene Wong, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, through a mail-in ballot process. After the organization tabulated all of the members' votes Monday, Wulf officially was elected to the four-year term.

Wulf has been an active participant in the NAE's goal of encouraging education and research. At the level of higher education, he was the primary author of the University's new computer science program. With a National Science Foundation teaching grant, Wulf has implemented an innovative, revised curriculum for the computer science program during the last five years.

He said he is "delighted" about his new position and how he can apply his work to people's everyday lives.

"Society is becoming more and more dependent on technology," he added. "The academy [is] more relevant to making those decisions of technology that affects people's lives."

Wulf said he is looking forward to working with some of the most accomplished engineers in the country.

"The people elected to the Academy are some of the brightest people in the country," he said. "They are a fantastic set of people to work with. ... We'll have an impact."

Wulf's colleagues said while his departure will leave a hole in the department, his selection as NAE president is an impressive accomplishment.

He is "one of the premier computer scientists in the whole world," Computer Science Department Chairman John Stankovic said. His selection is "well deserved. ... You don't get to where he is without doing what he's done."

Wulf has a long history of lifetime achievement in his field. A former University Engineering graduate student and Ph.D. recipient in computer science, Wulf received the esteemed title of University Professor this year.

University professors, appointed by the Board of Visitors, are senior faculty members who report directly to his or her respective dean or the provost and not to a department chairperson.

The Virginia Engineering Foundation also awarded Wulf with this year's Engineering Achievement Award. The foundation is a fund-raising, public relations and alumni organization affiliated with the Engineering School. The foundation's board consists of alumni who work with University deans and faculty.

The group annually presents the award to Engineering School alumni who have "promoted leadership and the engineering profession," VEF Public Relations Director Tom Doran said. "He's been a leader in the field for the development of computer systems."

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