An Honor Befitting the Work: Illinois Tech to Invest Three New Endowed Chairs


Headshots of Louis Cattafesta, Brent Stephens, and David Minh

Fittingly, as the university community comes together to celebrate all that makes Illinois Institute of Technology unique during the annual Homecoming celebration, it will also take time to recognize the efforts of its faculty through a trio of investiture ceremonies. 

Beginning on Wednesday, September 14, three faculty members—Louis N. Cattafesta III, Brent Stephens, and David Minh—will be invested as university endowed chairs.

Cattafesta, who joined Illinois Tech at the beginning of the 2022–23 academic year, will be invested as the John G. and Jane E. Olin Endowed Department Chair in Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering. An expert in fluid dynamics and the author or co-author of seven United States patents, seven book chapters, and more than 100 archival journal publications, Cattafesta most recently served as a University Eminent Scholar and professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering. He previously was a professor at the University of Florida and a research scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

A leading expert in energy, air quality, and sustainability in the built environment, Stephens, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, will be invested as the Arthur W. Hill Endowed Chair in Sustainability. Stephens’s research uniquely blends laboratory experiments, field measurements, and computational models to address societally relevant questions at the intersection of energy efficiency, climate change, human exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants, and human health. His work has been instrumental in guiding the understanding of how COVID-19 is transmitted and in informing how indoor transmission can be mitigated. Stephens joined Illinois Tech in fall 2012.

Finally, Minh, an associate professor of chemistry, will be invested as the Robert E. Frey Jr. Endowed Chair in Chemistry, a five-year position that will enable Minh to expand his computational chemistry research in a new direction—by applying machine learning to chemistry, a process that utilizes data to inform predictions. Among its benefits, the new chair position offers Minh $40,000 per year in research funding, which he says will primarily pay the salary of a research scientist to help support his new project. Minh joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry in fall 2013.

Photo: [From left] Louis N. Cattafesta III, Brent Stephens, and David Minh