CLEMSON — The seasoned administrator who is taking the helm of a large academic department said that he sees an opportunity for growth and that education will be his top priority.

Dan Noneaker was introduced Tuesday as chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dan Noneaker

Dan Noneaker

Noneaker said that he has been handed a department with successful academic and research programs and that he wants to build on its strengths.

“I’m starting with a great base,” he said. “Our department has experienced not only a lot of growth but also a lot of success in the last decade.”

With an enrollment of 723 students, the department is one of the largest on campus, and it continues to grow. Enrollment rose nearly 39 percent from 2010 to last year.

The department has about 30 faculty members involved in research and teaching. Their interests cover a wide range of fields, including lasers, “smart grid” technology and cars that communicate with each other.

Robert Jones, Clemson University’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, called Noneaker an accomplished administrator and skilled researcher.

“His promotion following a national search illustrates Clemson’s capacity to groom talent and create future leaders,” Jones said. “I congratulate Dan on his new job. He is poised to make a great department even better.”

Noneaker joined Clemson in 1993 and began serving as interim chair last summer. The promotion erases the “interim” from his title. He has also served as professor and the department’s graduate program coordinator.

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said that Noneaker is well-positioned to  work closely with the department’s faculty to develop a vision and a strategy to make it happen.

“Dan is a diligent, fair-minded administrator with deep experience in academia,” Gramopadhye said. “I look forward to working with him in his new role and have great confidence that the department will continue to prosper under his leadership.”

Noneaker said that educating students will be his first priority. He wants to offer a wider array of elective courses and more opportunities for online education, particularly at the graduate level.

Noneaker said the department will also soon need to fill three senior faculty positions that will be key to Clemson’s Lowcountry expansion.

“Those new hires will be establishing our department’s research presence in the Charleston area,” Noneaker said. “They, together with success we’ve already had, will help build us into a national powerhouse in energy research.”

Congratulations came from the department’s namesake, Milt Holcombe, who is now a member of the department’s External Board of Advocates.

“Dr. Noneaker has been a significant contributor to the growth of research and the advancement of academic excellence in electrical and computer engineering at Clemson since his arrival in 1993,” Holcombe said.

“During his service as the associate department chair and then the interim department chair, he has consistently demonstrated initiative and selflessness in advancing the department. I am confident the department will thrive and grow under his leadership.”

Scott Henry, chair of the External Board of Advocates, said that Noneaker is an excellent choice to build ties with partners in the public and private sectors.

“Demand for electrical and computer engineers is continuing to grow,” Henry said. “Their work touches so many areas of modern life, whether it’s turning on the lights or making a call on a cell phone. Having Dan at the helm of the department will ensure that Clemson continues to produce high-quality graduates that help fill the need.”

Noneaker received his Master of Science degree from Georgia Tech in 1984 and his Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993.

He has private sector experience, having worked for Sperry-Univac in Salt Lake City and the Motorola Government Electronics Group in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Before joining Clemson, he was also a research assistant in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Noneaker is engaged in research on wireless communication for military and commercial applications with emphasis on spread-spectrum communications, error-control coding for fading channels and protocols for mobile radio networks.

He said that he is excited about the department’s future.

“I have a great faculty and staff,” Noneaker said. “There are a lot of good, dedicated people I can depend on as we move the department forward. We have great students. We also have dedicated and involved alumni who give a lot of time.”

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