La Porta named director of School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Thomas La Porta Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Thomas La Porta, the William E. Leonhard Chair Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has been appointed as the director of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), effective June 1, after a national search.

Amr Elnashai, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of the College of Engineering, announced the appointment on May 1.

“Tom La Porta’s experience combines the best of academe and the best of industry,” Elnashai said. “His research track record and equal success in technical management give him the necessary perspective and credibility to lead the School of EECS to national and international prominence.”

La Porta, who was just named an Evan Pugh University Professor, researches mobility management, signaling and control for wireless networks, mobile data systems, protocol design and mobile and wireless security. The holder of 38 patents, La Porta is the director of the Quality of Information-Aware Networking Thrust, under the Network Sciences Collaborative Technology Alliance, which is the major network sciences research initiative sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Lab. He is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) fellow and a Bell Laboratories fellow.

La Porta joined Penn State in 2002 and is the founding director of the Institute of Networking and Security Research. He earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from Columbia University.

“I envision this school as having two vibrant departments, each internationally renowned for education and research,” La Porta said about the future of the school. “We will lead the University in important areas from cybersecurity to devices, and play a major role in many of the University's strategic areas.”

Formed in the spring of 2015, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created to allow access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research fields. La Porta explained that the three disciplines in the school — computer science, electrical engineering and computer engineering — are the principal forces behind 21st-century technology. 

“It is a very exciting time to be involved in the integration of these areas,” he said. “The idea of leading an emerging school that focuses on these areas is compelling.”

La Porta admits that the job will also pose some challenges that he’s willing to tackle head on.

“The biggest challenge is to integrate two successful departments and harness the creative energy of the faculty to quickly create something that is much greater than its parts,” he said. “The faculty and staff are showing great enthusiasm, so I am sure we will be successful.”

La Porta replaces Raj Acharya as the school’s director. Acharya has been named dean of Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing and will begin there on July 1.

Last Updated May 04, 2016