Dean Alec D. Gallimore

Dr. Alec D. Gallimore is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dean Gallimore is a rocket scientist, and in 2019 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering–among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. He is a leader in the field of advanced electric propulsion, who has excelled in research, teaching and service. His experience and creativity have led to program innovations to assist the growth of faculty and students. He is passionate about creating an inclusive environment and ensuring all individuals are treated with equity.

In this Q&A about equity-centered engineering, he outlines a vision for a new future for the field. Equity-centered engineering is both a goal and a process that aims to approach the work with an intent to close—rather than unintentionally expand—societal gaps.

Dean Gallimore has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan since January 1992. He is the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and founder and director of the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL). He is also a member of the Applied Physics faculty. He co-founded MCubed, a real-time seed-funding program for high-risk, multidisciplinary research.

Previously, Dean Gallimore served as associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Engineering, where he had oversight of faculty hiring, promotion and tenure; merit reviews, budget reviews and planning; and space allocation. From 2011-2013, Dean Gallimore was associate dean for research and graduate education. In this role, he was responsible for the education and welfare of some 3300 graduate students and 200 postdoctoral fellows, and for overseeing a research enterprise that exceeded $200M annually in expenditures. From 2005 to 2011, he served as an associate dean at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, where he developed and implemented programs in engineering, the physical sciences and mathematics. Dr. Gallimore’s term as Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering began in July 2016.

He has served on a number of advisory boards for NASA and the Department of Defense, including the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (AFSAB). He was awarded the Decoration for Meritorious Civilian Service in 2005 for his AFSAB work. In 2010, he was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has graduated 44 PhD students and 14 master’s students, and has written more than 360 publications on electric propulsion and plasma physics.

He currently serves on Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering External Advisory Board, Cornell’s Engineering College Council, the University Musical Society Board of Directors, the University of Michigan School of Nursing Board for Science and Innovation, the University of Michigan School of Education Dean’s Advisory Council, the University of Michigan Center for Educational Outreach Advisory Board, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors for the Engineering Society of Detroit, the Board of Directors for ANSYS, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANSS), and the Board of Directors for PagerDuty, Inc. (NYSE: PD)

Dean Gallimore received his BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer (RPI), and his MA and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on plasma physics from Princeton. His primary research interests include advanced spacecraft (electric) propulsion, plasma physics and advanced plasma diagnostics, nanoparticle energetics, and the use of plasma for energy transfer and environmental remediation.

Under Dean Gallimore’s ME 2020 strategic vision, Michigan Engineering has been committed to becoming the world’s preeminent college of engineering serving the common good. The College is asserting a leadership role and voice in: developing intellectually curious and socially conscious minds; collaboratively solving societal big problems, based on a strong foundation of breakthrough interdisciplinary research and forward-looking academic-industry partnerships; and promoting an inclusive and innovative community of service for the common good.


Alec D. Gallimore: Professor, Aerospace Engineering, Applied Physics

Robert J. Vlasic

robert j vlasic

Robert Vlasic was a distinguished civic leader who earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial and mechanical engineering from U-M in 1949, where he was a member of Tau Beta Pi. After college, he worked in the Detroit food distribution business founded by his father. He assumed leadership of Vlasic Foods Co. in 1963 when it was still a small, local Michigan pickle producer. By 1978, the business had grown to $100 million and ranked number one in the nation, when it was sold to Campbell Soup Co. Bob served as a director of Campbell Soup Co. and retired as chair in 1996. He founded O/E Automation, Inc., based in Troy, Mich. His 1996 gift to U-M established the endowed position known as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering. It was the first endowed deanship in any U-M school or college.