David E. Daniel is the fourth president of The University of Texas at Dallas. He received his bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, and served on the faculty at UT Austin from 1980 to 1996. In 1996, he moved to the University of Illinois, finishing his service as Dean of Engineering before being appointed UT Dallas' president in 2005.
Dr. Daniel’s professional work has been recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which awarded him its highest honor for papers published in its journals (the Norman Medal), and on two separate occasions awarded him its second highest honor, the Croes Medal. He received the Presidents’ Award in 2007 and the OPAL (Outstanding Projects and Leaders) Award for Education for 2010. In 2000, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the nation’s most prestigious organization recognizing engineering achievement.
From 2005 through 2008, Daniel served as Chair of the External Review Panel of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which examined the facts surrounding the performance of New Orleans’ levees during Hurricane Katrina. In 2009 Daniel served as President of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST), which is an organization comprised of all Texas residents who have won Nobel Prizes or been elected to one of the three National Academies. Daniel was in July 2010 appointed by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council to a committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Daniel serves on the Sandia Corporation Board of Directors, which oversees management of Sandia National Laboratory, and on the governing Council of the National Academy of Engineering.
During his presidency, UT Dallas has tripled its research expenditures, initiated or completed $1 billion worth of construction of new buildings and infrastructure comprising more than 3 million square feet of renovated space, added 50 new academic programs, raised more than $360 million in private funds, and won two national collegiate championships in chess. The University’s enrollment has grown from about 13,000 to about 23,000 students while the average entering SAT score among freshman remains among the highest of any Texas public college or university.
He has advocated widely for developing and cultivating world-class research universities, and for UT Dallas to become one of the nation’s top research universities. He has focused on hiring exceptional faculty members, attracting top students, delivering quality education, improving outcomes such as graduation rates, expanding diversity, and partnering with the community in research, education, outreach, the arts, and technology commercialization. The approach that he suggested for creating more top-tier research universities in Texas gained widespread support that led to two legislative initiatives that pumped more than $600 million of state funds into this effort. His work on this legislation led to his being named a finalist for “Texan of the Year” by the Dallas Morning News in December, 2009.
Updated: May 5, 2015