Dean Vijay Dhir Honored at Centennial Campaign Gala

Vijay K. Dhir, center, with Assistant Dean Mary Okino and Professor Richard Wirz.

Vijay K. Dhir, center, with Assistant Dean Mary Okino and Professor Richard Wirz.

Henry Samueli.

Henry Samueli.

Kelsey Wittels.

Kelsey Wittels.

Celebrating more than a decade of growth in size, reputation and achievement at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, more than 300 people gathered on Nov. 6 for a UCLA Centennial Campaign Celebration for Vijay K. Dhir.
Dhir, who will step down as dean of UCLA Engineering at the end of the calendar year, earned a standing ovation from the crowd of UCLA leaders, UCLA Engineering faculty, friends and family at the Grand Horizon Ballroom at Covel Commons.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Henry Samueli, a UCLA Engineering alumnus who went on to co-found semiconductor giant Broadcom Inc., lauded Dhir for his achievements.
Samueli ’75, MS ’76, PhD ’80 noted that Broadcom grew from semiconductor research originally performed at UCLA Engineering to a company with more than 10,000 employees. Broadcom has hired hundreds of graduates of UCLA Engineering graduates over the years, and several became high-level executives.

“UCLA engineers are among the best in the world,” Samueli said. Directing his comments to Dhir, Samueli added, “I’m really proud, Vijay, to have my name associated with this school.”
Block noted the school’s many successes during the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, a $4.2 billion fundraising effort to prepare the university – which will mark its centennial in 2019 – for a second century of accomplishment.

Kelsey Wittels, a civil engineering student and recipient of UCLA Engineering’s Levi James Knight Scholarship, also spoke. Associate Dean and William Frederick Seyer Chair in Materials Electrochemistry Jane P. Chang, along with professor emeritus Chand Viswanathan, presented a faculty gift to Dhir. Assistant Dean and Chief Financial Officer Mary Okino presented a gift from school staff.

Dhir took the stage at the end of the evening to thank those who have supported him, including mentors and family members. I have ridden on the shoulders of so many over my life,” he said. “I have received much more than I have given back.”

Dhir’s years of leadership have been marked by a rise in school rankings and significant increases in the number of faculty, students, and state-of-the-art research and teaching space at the school.
Dhir joined the UCLA faculty in 1974, was named interim dean in 2002 and was named dean in 2003. Since 2002 the school has added more than 90 new faculty members, and grown from roughly 4,000 students to more than 5,000. In 2007 the school built the 105,000-square-foor Engineering V building. This year the school completed the north wing of Engineering VI, and construction of the south wing will be completed in 2017. When Engineering VI is done, the school will have added or refurbished more than 300,000 square feet of teaching and research space in a single decade. Dhir’s tenure also has been marked by innovations including:
The Master’s of Science Online program, which is the top-ranked online engineering program in the country
The Institute for Technology Advancement, which has helped launch more than 25 companies based on innovations developed by UCLA Engineering faculty and students
• A technical breadth requirement for undergraduates to take classes outside their major, giving them a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary education
Dhir plans to continue teaching and performing research after his tenure as dean ends. In January 2016 Jayathi Murthy, currently the chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, will become the seventh dean in the 70-year history of UCLA Engineering.