Epps named Gutshall Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

9:46 a.m., May 31, 2012–Thomas H. Epps, III, associate professor at the University of Delaware, has been named the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

The endowed position is funded through a generous gift from UD alumnus Thomas Gutshall and his wife, Kipp. It is meant to reward exceptional young faculty talent. Unlike senior endowed chairs, the designation may rotate among young faculty periodically, depending upon need.

The professorship is the University’s first “career development” faculty chair, a term synonymous with young faculty chair. It is intended for a teacher/scholar at the assistant or associate professor level.

Epps conducts innovative research focused primarily on designing, building and characterizing new polymers. His multi-faceted research program generates nanoscale structures in soft (plastic) materials, work crucial to creating conducting membranes for energy generation and storage devices. The work is also useful in developing nanoscale capsules for drug delivery and self-cleaning and templating applications.

“We are especially delighted with the selection of Dr. Thomas Epps as he has already proven himself to be an outstanding researcher and academician. His future contributions to the field of chemical engineering will be exemplary,” said Gutshall.

Epps has been widely recognized for his research. In 2010, he received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the U.S. Department of Defense, an elite distinction bestowed by President Barack Obama.

He is also a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award, the DuPont Young Professor Award, an Air Force Young Investigator Award and the Lloyd Ferguson Young Scientist Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

In 2011, the University’s Francis Alison Society selected Epps to receive its 2011 Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award.

“It is an honor to be the first recipient of the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Faculty Development Chair. I am excited to receive this position named for such well-respected and innovative supporters of science and engineering at the University of Delaware,” remarked Epps.

About the professor

Epps joined UD in 2006 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2012. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota. Epps completed his postdoctoral studies as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Polymers Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.

About the donor

Thomas Gutshall received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at UD in 1960. Today he is co-founder and chairman of Cepheid, a leading molecular diagnostics company. He and his wife, Kipp, have remained very active with the University and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering over many years. He is a longstanding member of the chemical engineering advisory council and he served as co-chair of his 50th class reunion giving program in 2010.

Article by Karen B. Roberts

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson and courtesy Thomas and Kipp Gutshall

MaterialsCareer development chair