CLEMSON — Clemson University will begin a national search for a vice president for research, as Christian E.G. Przirembel has announced his plans to retire in April 2010 after 28 years of service to the university.

In a message to the campus, Clemson President Jim Barker wrote, “I want to express my sincere gratitude for all that Chris has done to make Clemson a better university, to build the university’s research profile and to create a knowledge-based economy for the state. He leaves quite a legacy from his tenure as department chair, associate dean and finally vice president for research and economic development. Without Chris, there would probably be no CU-ICAR, no Advanced Materials Research Lab and very few Centers of Economic Excellence endowed chairs. His leadership helped us achieve one of our key 10-year goals — exceeding $100 million a year in research support — in only three years.”

Przirembel came to Clemson in 1981 as head of the department of mechanical engineering. During his tenure, the department added 17 new faculty members, added a new engineering building that consolidated departmental activities from eight different facilities, and saw a seven-fold increase in both research funding and graduate enrollment. He later served as associate dean for research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering and Science and became vice president for research in 2001. He previously taught and served as associate dean at Rutgers University, where he earned his doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

He has held major national professional society positions, including membership on the board of directors for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He was elected a Fellow of these three professional societies, as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been awarded ASEE’s Ralph Coats Roe Award for outstanding contributions to the profession and to teaching.

Przirembel arrived in the United States as a war refugee from Germany in 1953, knowing no English and nothing about engineering.

“For me, education has been the key to unlocking the very best that this country has to offer,” he said. “I believe it can be the key for many others as well. My parents often reminded me that nothing could take away your education — not even a world war.”

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