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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release


News contacts: Steve McGregor, UTD, (972) 883-2293, smcgreg@utdallas.edu
Jon Senderling, UTD, (972) 883-2565, jsender@utdallas.edu

Leading Corporate Executive, Academic Bob Helms
Named UTD Engineering, Computer Science Dean

'High-Tech Guru' to Lead One of Nation's Fastest-Growing Schools;
Has Held Key Positions at SEMATECH, Texas Instruments, Stanford

Dr. Bob HelmsRICHARDSON, Texas (March 26, 2003) - Dr. Bob Helms, a nationally prominent executive in the semiconductor industry and professor emeritus at Stanford University, has been appointed dean of The University of Texas at Dallas' (UTD) Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, one of the fastest-growing and most innovative schools of its kind in the nation.

Helms' appointment resulted from a nationwide search begun last May to find a replacement for former Dean Dr. William P. Osborne. During the intervening period, Dr. Ramaswamy Chandrasekaran, a long-time UTD faculty member, served as interim dean of the Jonsson School.

Most recently, Helms was president and chief executive officer of International SEMATECH (ISMT), the Austin, Texas-based consortium of semiconductor manufacturers whose member companies include AMD, Intel, IBM, Motorola and Texas Instruments (TI), representing 40 percent of the worldwide market share in computer chips. Prior to that, he was corporate vice president and director of Silicon Technology Research at TI in Dallas. Helms also served for 20 years as a professor at Stanford University, his alma mater, where he led research efforts in semiconductor processing and new materials, with a focus on environmentally benign manufacturing.

"UTD is fortunate to have a top-notch talent like Bob Helms - truly a high-tech, research-oriented guru and leader - accept what we believe is one of the top positions of its kind in the nation," said UTD President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer. "Dr. Helms' unique combination of experience and expertise spans the worlds of private industry and academia and will be a tremendous asset to the Jonsson School, its faculty and its students, as well as to the state."

"We sought a dean who was capable of taking the Jonsson School to the next level - to the ranks of the nation's premier schools of engineering and computer science," said Jenifer. "We believe we have found such a person in Dr. Helms."

Mark G. Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas System, called Helms "a superb choice for this important appointment at U. T. Dallas."

"His broad academic experience together with his extensive background in industry, both at TI and SEMATECH, will bring the right leadership and knowledge to UTD's engineering programs that is required for the 21st century. I look forward to welcoming him to the University of Texas System."

UTD Provost and Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal said several sources had suggested that Helms would make an "ideal dean of the Jonsson School" and that UTD then had "made multiple overtures" to him soliciting his candidacy. "I am very gratified that after many probing discussions he agreed to make himself available. This occurred after he completed an intensive study of engineering education at leading U.S. universities and concluded that UTD's Jonsson School had the greatest potential for further growth in excellence and national impact of any program in the country," Wildenthal said. "In combination, Dr. Helms' long and successful career of research and graduate education at Stanford, his close contacts with industry here in the Metroplex and his global perspective on economically vital research frontiers are exactly what UTD needs at this moment in its history to best serve Texas and to fulfill the vision of the university's founders."

Helms said he was "greatly honored" to have been recruited and chosen for the position. "The phenomenal growth we have witnessed at the Jonsson School over the last few years and the strong support it has received from President Jenifer, Provost Wildenthal and the entire Dallas business and philanthropic community positions it perfectly to take the next step to a national ranking," Helms said. "I can think of no better commitment of my time and energy than to pick up the ball and help lead this charge."

"My priorities are simple. It's all about excellence in teaching and research, driven first and foremost by highly motivated and excellent faculty and excellent students. And it's all about strengthening already great programs in areas such as speech recognition, telecommunications, software engineering, networking, signal processing, circuits and systems and photonics, as well as seeking new opportunities in fields such as nanotech materials, biotech engineering and energy conversion. The potential of U. T. Dallas is all but limitless."

During his two-year tenure as head of ISMT, Helms directed a staff of more than 500 charged with the mission of "realizing the roadmap" for silicon technologies - years ahead of the manufacturing process - for the consortium's members and the industry at large.

Among ISMT's major initiatives under Helms was the launch last year of a $400-million research partnership with New York State and the State University of New York-Albany's School of Nanotechnology to make faster microchips.

While at ISMT, Helms was on a leave of absence from TI, where he was responsible for advanced research and development in silicon process, equipment and materials technology. He joined TI in 1997 as director of the company's Components and Materials Research Center.

Helms was recruited by TI from Stanford, where he had been a professor in the electrical engineering department for two decades. During his academic career, he led research efforts on semiconductor processing and new materials, especially related to atomic level surface phenomena, and he published extensively. He also served as director of Stanford's Solid State Industrial Affiliates, one of the first organizations of its kind. In 2000, Stanford bestowed the title of professor emeritus on Helms.

When he becomes dean of the Jonsson School later this year, Helms will lead one of the fastest-growing schools of engineering and computer science in the country, boasting a growth in its student body of nearly 70 percent over the past five years. Last fall, UTD dedicated a 152,000-square-foot addition to the Jonsson School, effectively doubling its capacity to more than 6,000 students. The Jonsson School currently enrolls nearly 3,700 students.

The Jonsson School ranks at or near the top nationally in the number of computer science degrees awarded annually and is known for its innovative degree offerings. It was the first school in the country to offer an ABET-accredited B.S. degree in telecommunications engineering and last fall received approval to begin granting the nation's first Ph.D. degree in telecommunications engineering. The school is one of only a handful in the U.S. that offer undergraduate and doctoral degrees in software engineering.


UTD's engineering and computer science school is named for a co-founder of TI and the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, the predecessor of UTD - the late Erik Jonsson, a former mayor of Dallas.

Helms was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1947. He earned an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford and a B.S. degree in engineering physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

President Jenifer thanked Professor Chandrasekaran for having served as interim dean while the search for a permanent dean was being conducted and acknowledged, "Knowing that the Jonsson School was in such capable hands took some of the pressure off and gave us the luxury of being able to take the time necessary to find the best possible person for this critically important position. And that is exactly what we did."

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,000 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu/.


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August 03, 2013