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Dr. Jon C. Liebman

Following an undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado, five years of service in the U.S. Navy, and graduate degrees from Cornell University, Jon Liebman served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until 1996, where he was head of the Department of Civil Engineering from 1978-84.  He received prestigious education awards for both superb classroom teaching and pioneering educational innovations. His decades-long research defined and developed the field of environmental systems analysis; his work featured scholarship at the highest level along with a strong graduate education component. His former Ph.D. students include successful professionals faculty and administrators at universities around the world. As a leader and mentor, perhaps his greatest attribute is his well-developed sense of what an academic institution should be and how to maintain and improve it as decisions are made and policies and procedures are developed. As department head, he demonstrated a collegial style of leadership that allows the potential of a broad range of faculty to be realized. His career as an educator, researcher, and administrator is not only extraordinarily distinguished but also a model for others.  

His contributions to NC State are indirect since he set foot on campus only once, but they have had an enormous impact on the department over several decades. Many of the important elements of developing the undergraduate and graduate programs, the computing infrastructure and systems program, and the administrative structure, policies, and practices have been modeled after his initiatives or based on innumerable conversations. Many impacts have been subtle, often coming up in a discussion about a challenging issue starting with “What did Jon do or what would Jon do?”

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