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UC Merced names new Dean of Engineering
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The University of California, Merced named E. Daniel Hirleman, currently head of Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering, as the new UC Merced Dean of Engineering on Monday. Hirleman will assume his post on Oct. 1.

Hirleman was enticed by the UC Merced position due to the university’s commitment to sustainability and interdisciplinary research, he said. He also was excited at the prospect of helping to build a University of California research university with an engineering education model focused at 21st century students, he said.

"I'm thrilled to be joining a university system with such a remarkable history of academic achievement while also taking part in the inspiring growth of a new campus," Hirleman said. "My predecessors and the faculty at UC Merced have built a strong foundation for the School of Engineering, and I look forward to the exciting challenge of continuing in their footsteps."

The position has been in flux since Jeff Wright, the founding dean of the School of Engineering, resigned in December. Thomas Harmon served as acting dean through April, when current interim dean Mark Matsumoto assumed the post.

Hirleman is noted for having expanded Purdue’s faculty and student body, doubled its Ph.D. graduation rate, and increased scholarship and fellowship distribution while improving the schools’ financial footing. He also improved the quality of Purdue engineering’s undergraduate students while expanding enrollment.

"Dr. Hirleman has done a remarkable job during his time at Purdue's School of Mechanical Engineering," said Keith Alley, UC Merced executive vice chancellor and provost. "He brings a spirit of collaboration and openness we value so highly at UC Merced. His drive and determination will continue to build UC Merced's reputation for academic excellence, cutting-edge research and public service to the citizens of California."

Hirleman is the founding director of, an internet-based community of students, faculty, and engineers working for global engineering and global citizenship. He is also the chair of the Engineers for a Sustainable World advisory board and founder of the Purdue Global Engineering Program.

Hirleman’s has more than 170 technical publications, an edited book, 60 invited lectures in 10 countries, and five patents to his name. His interdisciplinary research, incorporating both engineering and biology, currently focuses on food safety via rapid detection of food-borne pathogens.

Hirleman will earn an annual salary of $256,000 in his new post, along with standard health, pension, and senior management benefits. He will also receive a $30,000 relocation allowance, reimbursement of all actual and reasonable moving expenses including one house-hunting trip, and is eligible for a Mortgage Origination Program loan to purchase a principal residence.