Carnegie Mellon University
February 11, 2021

CMU Trustee Among Six Faculty Members and Alumni Elected to NAE

By Heidi Opdyke

Jason Maderer
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Julie Mattera
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Four members of the Carnegie Mellon University alumni community, including a long-serving CMU trustee, and two faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). The NAE is one of the highest professional distinctions for engineers.

Zoltan Cendes, Sebastian Ceria, Erroll Brown Davis Jr., Marija Ilic, Kathryn Jackson and William D. Magwood IV are among 106 new members and 23 new international members elected this year.

"I congratulate all of the Carnegie Mellon community members elected to the National Academy of Engineering on this well-deserved recognition of their leadership and contributions to engineering research and practice," said Farnam Jahanian, president of Carnegie Mellon. "Their impacts in their respective fields are invaluable, as are their associations with our university. Their membership in the NAE is yet another reminder that the CMU community is home to the world's brightest minds and most remarkable leaders."

Faculty Members

Zoltan CendesZoltan Cendes is a former professor of electrical and computer engineering and current adjunct faculty member. He founded Ansoft Corporation and, until his retirement, was chairman and CTO. Ansoft created software based on research by Cendes and colleagues during his 14 years as a CMU professor.

Cendes' NAE citation is "for contributions to theory, development and commercialization of electromagnetics simulation software."

IlicMarija Ilic is a professor emeritus in CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where she worked from 2002 to 2017. Ilic is currently a senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Her citation is "for contributions to electric power systems analysis and control."

CMU Alumni

Sebastian CeriaSebastian Ceria is the CEO of Qontigo. He previously served as the CEO of Axioma, which he founded and has led since 1998.

Ceria earned his Ph.D. in operations research from CMU's Tepper School of Business in 1993, and his NAE citation is "for application of optimization tools to advance integer programming and financial engineering."

DavisErroll Brown Davis Jr. earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965. He joined CMU's Board of Trustees in 1989 and served as its chair from 2000 to 2004. He was named a Carnegie Mellon Emeriti Trustee in 2020.

Davis is currently a senior advisor at TalentQuest and former member of the PBS and Union Pacific board of directors. His leadership roles also have included serving as superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, chair of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation, where he had also served as president and CEO, and president and CEO of WPL Holdings.

His citation is "for leadership in research and development of renewable resources integration with the grid, and public education."

Kathryn JacksonKathryn Jackson is the director of energy and technology consulting at KeySource and serves on a number of boards including EQT and Portland General Electric. She earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from CMU in engineering and public policy in 1987 and 1990, respectively.

Her citation is "for contributions to management of large-scale power system technology, and harmonization of engineering solutions with public policy."

William D. Magwood IVWilliam D. Magwood IV earned a bachelor of science degree in physics from CMU in 1982 and a bachelor of arts degree in English from CMU in 1983. He is the director general at the Nuclear Energy Agency, an intergovernmental agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Prior to that he was a commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute.

His citation is "for leadership and contributions to research programs that drive innovation in global nuclear energy enterprises."

CMU's Growing List of NAE Members

NAE membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

More than 60 members of the CMU community have been elected into the NAE. Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on Oct. 4.