Colorado State University’s Dean of Engineering Awarded Esteemed Fellowship in International Society

Neal Gallagher, dean of Colorado State University’s College of Engineering, has been elected to the prestigious position of Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering, or SPIE. According to the society’s bylaws, fellows are distinguished individuals who have made outstanding scientific and technical contributions in optics and optoelectronics, and are recognized for their service to the optics community. Fellowship in SPIE is restricted to the top 5 percent of its 16,000 members.

"I am honored to be awarded this fellowship by such an exceptional international organization," said Gallagher. "I feel this award not only reflects my work in the field, but also the work and successes of the outstanding faculty and students of the College of Engineering at Colorado State University."

Gallagher will officially be awarded the fellowship at SPIE’s Annual Technical Symposium on Optical Science and Technology August 3-8 in San Diego.

"The progress shown by the College of Engineering in the last few years is exceptional, as measured by improved quality of faculty and student academic scores, growth in research grants, positive national recognition and increases in student enrollment," said Joseph Marcus, former vice president of Lockheed Martin and longtime member of both the college’s advisory council and the university’s development council. "It therefore comes as no surprise that Dr. Gallagher has just received the prestigious honor of a fellowship in SPIE. His continuing leadership at Colorado State bodes well for the university’s broad objectives of reaching ever higher levels of excellence and national recognition."

Gallagher, who earned two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in electrical engineering at Princeton University, began as dean of the engineering college at Colorado State in 1999. Since his arrival, Gallagher has led the college to be ranked among the nation’s leaders in engineering education. A few of the college’s many accomplishments under his leadership include the following:

  • Enrollment in the college stands at a 10-year high with 2,035 students, including 1,497 undergraduates.
  • During the last two years, the total sponsored research funding in the college has increased more than 26 percent to approximately $38 million per year.
  • Engineering students are among the top in their class as demonstrated by a nearly 100 percent increase in the number of entering engineering students with exceptionally high index scores (combination of high school GPA, class rank and ACT or SAT scores).
  • In the last 12 months the college has increased its alumni giving rate 80 percent.
  • U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges edition recently ranked the College of Engineering undergraduate program as one of the best in the nation, moving up two spots from the previous year to 57th in the nation.
  • From the moment Dr. Gallagher arrived at Colorado State in 1999, his energy, intellectual gifts and leadership began to be felt," said Marcus, who is also a graduate of the engineering college. "The university is blessed with his talent as a visionary combined with his down-to earth practicality."

Prior to leading the College of Engineering at Colorado State, Gallagher served as chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and held the endowed position of Charles Black Evans Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has also taught at Purdue University and Case Western Reserve University.

While at Delaware, Gallagher played a crucial role in ensuring the university’s Advanced Telecommunications Army Federated Laboratory Consortium, earning the school about $3 million over five years. Under his leadership as department chair, enrollment tripled and sponsored research support quadrupled. Gallagher also worked closely with the Delaware Governor’s office to successfully attract new industry to the state.

Gallagher is an accomplished scholar and researcher who has been honored by several professional engineering societies. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, presented over 100 research talks and papers throughout the world and delivered 30 invited lectures. He has additionally earned two patents for his research.

Gallagher is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers where he was honored for contributions to the theory and application of rank order filtering and computer-generated holography. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America where he is cited for the design of computer-generated diffractive elements for laser beam scanning and microwave beam forming. Gallagher also organized and chaired SPIE’s inaugural and second annual international Information Technologies and Communications conferences in Denver in 2001 and Boston in 2002.

Gallagher is a member of the Alpha Sigma Nu National Honor Society for Jesuit Colleges, Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Society and Eta Kappa Nu National Electrical Engineering Honor Society. He has served as a consultant to some of the nation’s leading technical businesses and organizations including Boeing Aerospace, Hughes Optical Products, Honeywell, McGraw-Hill Publishers, McDonnell Douglas, Flint Hills Scientific and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Recently, Gallagher served as a consultant to DARPA on the space studies panel for making recommendations about the organization’s future role in space.

The International Society for Optical Engineering is an international technical society dedicated to fostering engineering, scientific and commercial applications of optical, photonic, imaging, electronic and optoelectronic technologies. Founded in 1955, SPIE is the largest international professional engineering society serving the practicing engineer and scientist in the field of optics and photonics.