University of Virginia Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas C. Katsouleas will give the keynote address at the Fall Convocation, to be held Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. in John Paul Jones Arena.
The annual ceremony awards Intermediate Honors to the top 20 percent of third-year undergraduate students who have finished at least 60 hours of coursework. The Thomas Jefferson Awards, the highest distinctions of service and scholarship awarded by the University, are also presented at the event, which marks the beginning of UVA’s annual Family Weekend.
Katsouleas, a leading scholar of plasma science who was appointed provost in 2015, oversees the University’s teaching and research activities. He directs the academic administration of the University’s 11 schools, the library, art museums, public service activities, numerous University centers and foreign study programs.
“This is such a pivotal moment in our students’ lives, and I think it’s important to highlight their accomplishments and acknowledge how far they have come,” Katsouleas said. “I am delighted to share some life lessons with them, but to me it’s equally important to just be a part of their celebratory day.”
Katsouleas is an inventor and a plasma science scholar, generating a number of concepts in plasma-based particle accelerators and light sources. His work has been highlighted on the covers of Physical Review Letters, the CERN Courier and Nature, and he has written or co-written more than 200 publications and given more than 50 major talks.
Katsouleas is a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has co-created the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program in 2009 and organized and co-chaired the first NAE Grand Challenges national summit. He currently co-chairs the advisory committee on The Grand Challenges.
“Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with many amazing students who are committed to inquiry and discovery,” Katsouleas said. “UVA students are among the most empowered to shape their own environment, and I think they will be in the vanguard of solving our world’s greatest challenges.”
Before coming to UVA, Katsouleas served as dean of the Pratt School of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University from 2008 to 2015.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1984, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the University of Southern California faculty as an associate professor of electrical engineering in 1991, becoming a full professor in 1997. There he also served as an associate dean of engineering and vice provost of information technology services.
After Intermediate Honors are bestowed, the Thomas Jefferson Awards are given to members of the University community who have exemplified in character, work and influence the principles and ideals of Jefferson and have advanced the objectives for which he founded the University.
There are two Jefferson Awards. One, sponsored since 1955 by the McConnell Foundation, recognizes excellence in service to the University. The other, created in 2009 by the Alumni Board of Trustees Endowment Fund, recognizes excellence in scholarship. Recipients must have been at the University for at least 15 years.
Doors to the arena will open at 12:30 p.m. The University has implemented a clear bag policy for security and is utilizing metal detectors for Fall Convocation. These security measures mirror those used for events at Scott Stadium and the John Paul Jones Arena. Information is available here.