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C. D. Mote, Jr. is president of the National Academy of Engineering and Regents’ Professor on leave from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Mote is a native Californian who earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees at the University of California, Berkeley in mechanical engineering between 1959 and 1963. After a postdoctoral year in England and three years as an assistant professor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, he returned to Berkeley to join the faculty in mechanical engineering for the next 31 years. He and his students investigated the dynamics, stability, and control of high-speed rotating and translating continua (e.g., disks, webs, tapes, and cables) as well as biomechanical problems associated with snow skiing. He coined the area called “dynamics of axially moving materials” encompassing these systems. Fifty-eight PhD students earned their degrees under his mentorship. He held an endowed chair in mechanical systems at Berkeley and chaired the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1987 to 1991, when the National Research Council (NRC) ranked its graduate program effectiveness highest nationally. Because of his success at raising funds for mechanical engineering, in 1991 he was appointed vice chancellor to create and lead a $1 billion capital campaign, which raised $1.4 billion.
In 1998 Dr. Mote was recruited to the presidency of the University of Maryland, College Park, a position he held until 2010 when he was appointed Regents’ Professor. His goal for the university was to elevate its self-expectation of achievement and its national and global positions through proactive initiatives. During his tenure the number of Academy members on the faculty tripled, three Nobel laureates were recognized, and an accredited school of public health and a new department of bioengineering were created. In addition, he founded a 130-acre research park next to the campus, faculty research funds increased by 150 percent, and partnerships with surrounding federal agencies and with international organizations expanded greatly. The number of students studying abroad tripled, and he created an annual open house day that attracts over 100,000 visitors, founded a charitable foundation for the campus whose board of trustees launched and led a successful $1 billion capital campaign, and took to lunch every student that wanted to go. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the campus #36 in 2010 and its Engineering School #13.
The NAE elected him to membership in 1988 and to the positions of councillor (2002–08), treasurer (2009–13), and president for a six-year term beginning July 1, 2013. He has served on the NRC governing board executive committee since 2009.
Dr. Mote’s recognitions include the NAE Founders Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Medal, and the Humboldt Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany. He is an honorary fellow of ASME, honorary member of the American Society for Engineering Education, and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Academy of Mechanics, Acoustical Society of America, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2015, made an honorary academician of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan, in 2016, and in 2017 elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He holds four honorary doctorates and three honorary professorships.
As president of the NAE Dr. Mote is committed to ensuring highly competitive talent in the US engineering workforce, facilitating public understanding of engineering, demonstrating how engineering creates a better quality of life, and engaging the Academy in global engineering issues in support of national interests. A highlight of global engineering engagement is the promotion of the NAE’s 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering, whose solutions are needed to achieve the global vision “Continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, safe, healthy, and joyful.”