Named following a nationwide search, mechanical engineer Gregory Washington has assumed his new post as dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine.

Gregory Washington has a stellar record as a research scientist and academic leader who has concentrated on engineering energy-efficient vehicles and developing adaptive materials,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “He also has been an adviser to many organizations, including the U.S. Air Force. We are delighted to bring his enthusiastic vision for excellence, strategic partnerships and innovation to our engineering school”

The University of California’s first full-time African American engineering dean, Washington was born in Harlem, N.Y. While he has specialized in multidomain research for 20 years, his core area of interest is dynamic systems – with an emphasis on “smart” materials that require no traditional gears, respond to temperature changes and can be used to harvest energy. Washington has helped design advanced automotive systems incorporating such materials.

He hopes to combat stark public funding cuts with innovative private partnerships, capitalizing on the school’s strengths in biomedical research, communications technology, and sustainable energy and transportation.

“My new mantra is ‘partner or perish,’” Washington said. “There’s so much potential and untapped opportunity in and around our county. There’s so much potential and opportunity still locked up in our faculty. If we just begin to uncover that, we won’t have as much need for state support, and that’s where we want to be.”

He most recently served as interim dean at The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering, one of the nation’s largest engineering programs. In coming to UCI, he takes the helm of an institution with more than 100 faculty and 3,000 students that U.S. News & World Report recently ranked 39th nationwide among engineering schools conferring graduate degrees.

Washington earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and joined the OSU faculty in 1995. He is the author of more than 140 technical publications in journals, books and conference proceedings.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit

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