Robert Altenkirch

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Robert A. Altenkirch is the President of University of Alabama in Huntsville.


Altenkirch holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University, an M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S.M.E. from Purdue, all in mechanical engineering. He is the author of over 50 publications and nearly 100 presentations in combustion and heat transfer and served as principal investigator for ten Space Shuttle experiments investigating the spread of fire in reduced gravity. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.[1]

From 1988 to 1995, Altenkirch was professor of mechanical engineering and dean of the College of Engineering at MSU. While dean of engineering at MSU, he led the effort to secure National Science Foundation funding for the establishment of the MSU NSF Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation in 1990. He also served as professor and chair of mechanical engineering at the University of Kentucky. He served as professor of mechanical and materials engineering and dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture at Washington State University.

He was vice president for research at Mississippi State University (MSU). During his tenure as MSU vice president for research, science and engineering, expenditures as reported to National Science Foundation (NSF) increased 75 percent from 1997 to 2001. In addition to the research program, his responsibilities encompassed congressional relations, intellectual property management and economic development.

From 2003 until 2011, Altenkirch was the seventh president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.[2] On September 21, 2011, Dr. Altenkirch was named the new president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.[3]


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Academic offices
Preceded by
Saul Fenster
President of New Jersey Institute of Technology
Succeeded by
Joel Bloom
Preceded by
David B. Williams
President of the University of Alabama in Huntsville
Succeeded by