MSOE names new president

University of Kentucky engineering dean to start at school July 1

John Walz.

Milwaukee School of Engineering has hired a new president after an 18-month search to replace longtime leader Hermann Viets.

John Walz.
Walz

The new president, John Walz, will take over July 1 as the 113-year-old university’s fifth president. Walz is currently the dean of University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering.

Earlier in his career, he was the head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering and chairman of Yale University’s Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering.

Walz received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He also worked for six years as a process support engineer for Shell Oil Co.

“I am extremely honored and pleased to be joining MSOE as its fifth president,” Walz said. “I strongly believe in the MSOE mission – preparing students for exceptional careers as leaders and entrepreneurs. The success of the university in fulfilling this mission is remarkable, and there is no doubt that as our society becomes more advanced, MSOE’s importance and global impact will expand.”

Former MSOE president Hermann Viets retired on June 20, after 24 years at the helm. While the school searched for a new leader, Matthew Panhans, former chair of MSOE’s Mechanical Engineering department, served as interim president.

“Our goal is to increase MSOE’s relevancy in this changing world by preparing high-impact students for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Scott Moon, chairman of the MSOE board of regents and chairman and CEO of DLSM Inc. “Our measure of success is the impact we make in terms of graduate job demand and ultimate job-creation within our society. The MSOE Search Committee looked for a new leader capable of expanding on this important recognition. After a more than 18-month search with over 400 applicants, I am extremely pleased to say that we have found the right leader for MSOE: Dr. John Walz. Dr. Walz understands the challenges facing higher education and is very well-equipped to handle these challenges. He has the right character, background and skillset to move MSOE forward.”

Panhans will remain in his role as interim president until Walz takes over on July 1.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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