the distinguished professors award ceremony processional

The Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching, research, and service. It is the highest honor given to a Georgia Tech professor. Created in 1984 by the Class of 1934 in observance of its 50th reunion, the award is presented to an active professor who has made significant, long-term contributions — contributions that have brought widespread recognition to the professor, to their school, and to the Institute. The award includes a stipend of $25,000.

Dimitri Mavris


Dimitri Mavris

Regents’ Professor, Boeing Professor of Advanced Aerospace Systems Analysis, and Langley Distinguished Professor, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering

Mavris has championed the School of Aerospace Engineering, and his students have gone on to become some of the top minds in the engineering workforce. 

Ellen Zegura


Ellen Zegura

Fleming Chair and Professor in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech

Passion for new challenges and dedication to her role as a teacher have become hallmarks of Ellen Zegura’s career at Georgia Tech.

Marilyn A Brown


Marilyn Brown

Regents & Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems, School of Public Policy

Brown is a world leading expert on renewable energy and energy efficiency, a transformative intellectual thinker, and one of the founders of the field of energy and climate policy. Her research has shaped energy policy in the U.S. and globally.


portrait of Andrés García


Andrés García

Executive director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience and Regents Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

García is known as a global pioneer in developing biomaterials systems for translational applications in regenerative medicine.


portrait of Jeff Wu


Jeff Wu

Professor and Coca Cola Chair in Engineering Statistics in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Wu is considered a visionary in engineering statistics, and has received almost every award in the field.


portrait of David McDowell


David McDowell

Regents Professor and Carter N. Paden Jr. Distinguished Chair in Metals Processing in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

McDowell has developed new techniques and methods for measuring, understanding, and modeling the way materials behave in areas such as transportation and energy production.


portrait of Seth Marder


Seth Marder

Regents Professor and Georgia Power Chair of Energy Efficiency in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the School of Materials Science and Engineering

Marder is a world-renowned educator and researcher whose work focuses on the interactions of light with matter, most notably in the setting of organic electronic and photonic materials.


portrait of Gary Schuster


Gary Schuster

Vassar Woolley Professor Emeritus in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Schuster’s research has been primarily in the field of organic and bioorganic chemistry, including groundbreaking work in several research areas.


portrait of Robin Thomas


Robin Thomas

Regents Professor in the School of Mathematics

A world leader in graph theory, Thomas established a remarkable legacy of research and teaching that included serving as leader of the Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization Ph.D. program.


portrait of George Nemhauser


George Nemhauser

A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Institute Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering

George Nemhauser is widely considered to be one of the world’s top optimization researchers. He was the first sitting professor at Georgia Tech to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering.


portrait of Zhong Lin (Z.L.) Wang


Zhong Lin (Z.L.) Wang

Regents Professor and Hightower Chair, College of Engineering Distinguished Professor, and director of the Center for Nanostructure Characterization

A pioneer researcher in nanoscience, Wang invented the nanogenerator and figured out how it could harvest mechanical energy using nano-enabled technology.



portrait of John Cressler


John Cressler

Schlumberger Chair Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Cressler leads research in the understanding, development, and application of new types of microelectronic devices and circuits for high-speed electronics in emerging communications systems.


portrait of Dick Lipton


Dick Lipton

Professor, College of Computing, and the Frederick G. Storey Chair

Lipton has a strong reputation in computer science theory, cryptography, and academics. He is considered one of the original pioneers of DNA computing.


portrait of Mark Hay


Mark Hay

Regents Professor and Harry and Linda Teasley Chair in Environmental Biology

Hay's research has provided key insights into the conservation and restoration of coral reefs and challenged scientists' view of ecological and evolutionary processes affecting the establishment and impact of invasive species.


portrait of Charles Liotta


Charles Liotta

Former chair of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and vice provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies

For decades, Liotta developed collaborations with other chemists, chemical engineers, textile chemists, and mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineers at Georgia Tech, and with researchers at other academic institutions, national laboratories, and in industry.


portrait of Robert M. Nerem


Robert M. Nerem

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, and Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine; founding director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience

Nerem received awards and accolades from around the world for pioneering work in regenerative medicine and bioengineering, and was known for interdisciplinary collaboration.


portrait of James D. Foley


James D. Foley

Professor of interactive computing and the Fleming Chair in Telecommunications

Foley is a computing pioneer, innovative educator, and author. He was one of the computer graphics pioneers who went on to help establish HCI as a discipline.


portrait of Mostafa El-Sayed


Mostafa El-Sayed

Regents Professor Emeritus, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Julius Brown Chair

A leading nanoscience researcher, El-Sayed has done work in the potential use of nanoparticles in nanomedicine, nanocatalysis, and plasmonics.


portrait of Bryan G. Norton


Bryan G. Norton

Professor Emeritus, School of Public Policy

Norton writes on intergenerational equity, sustainability theory, biodiversity policy, and valuation methods. His specialty is the integration of spatio-temporal scaling considerations into sustainability criteria.


portrait of Thomas K. Gaylord


Thomas K. Gaylord

Regents Professor, Julius Brown Chair Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Gaylord was instrumental in the founding and development of the optics educational and research programs in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


portrait of C. P. Wong


C. P. Wong

Regents Professor and Smithgall Institute Endowed Chair, Materials Science and Engineering

Among his research interests are the fields of polymeric materials, electronic packaging and interconnect, interfacial adhesions, and nano-functional material syntheses and characterizations.


portrait of Kevin F. Brennan


Kevin F. Brennan

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

His research interests were in the general area of semiconductors and microelectronics, with a particular emphasis on physics and device application of emerging semiconductor materials for future power.


Earlier Award Recipients



Jay Bolter

Professor, Literature, Communication and Culture


James D. Meindl

Professor, Microelectronics Research Center


William Chameides

Regents Professor, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


Jim Powers

Regents Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry


Rao Tummala

Pettit Chair Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering


Charles Eckert

Professor, Chemistry, J. Erskine Love Jr. Professor of Chemical Engineering


Ajeet Rohatgi

Regents Professor, John H. Weitnauer, Jr. Chair in the College of Engineering; Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar


Ray Flannery

Regents Professor, Physics


Jerry H. Ginsberg

Professor, Mechanical Engineering


Daniel S. Papp

Director, International Affairs


Uzi Landman

Regents Professor, Physics


Robert F. Hochman

Professor, School of Materials Engineering


Ben T. Zinn

Regents Professor, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering


Leon Zalkow

Regents Professor, Chemistry


Eugene C. Ashby

Regents Professor, Chemistry


Ward Winer

Regents Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering


Satya N. Atluri

Regents Professor, Civil Engineering


Ron Schafer

Regents Professor, Electrical Engineering, John O. McCarty/Audichron Chair


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