Chris Schuh. Credit: Gretchen Ertl/MIT

Northwestern University has named Christopher Schuh dean of its school of engineering, effective Aug. 1.

A Northwestern alumnus, Schuh is a professor of materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He succeeds Julio M. Ottino, who will step down this summer after 18 years as dean of NU’s McCormick engineering school.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Schuh is a researcher, serial entrepreneur and educator.

In a statement, Schuh said he’s “thrilled to return to my alma mater and to reunite with the incredibly accomplished and visionary faculty and passionate and talented students at McCormick.”

As head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT from 2011 to 2020, Schuh worked alongside faculty and staff to develop a sweeping strategic plan, designed to attract new faculty, expand space, launch new programs and provide a world-class educational experience for undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students. 

“We are proud to count Chris Schuh among our most accomplished alumni, and now we are delighted to bring him back to Northwestern to lead the McCormick School of Engineering,” Northwestern Provost Kathleen Hagerty said.

Schuh has co-founded a number of metallurgical companies. His first MIT spin-out company, Xtalic Corporation, commercialized a process from Schuh’s MIT laboratory to control the internal structure in metal electroplated coatings down to the nanometer scale, producing exceptional mechanical and functional properties.

These nanocrystalline coatings provide wear and corrosion resistance to metal surfaces and are widely used in enterprise and personal electronic devices.

Schuh also cofounded Desktop Metal, an additive manufacturing company producing 3-D metal printers that address a range of markets with an emphasis on production scale.

“It is a complicated intellectual trail from concept to invention, from patent to startup company, from license to fielded commercial products,” Schuh said, “I personally take great joy in following that trail and in supporting others to do so as well.”

Schuh earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and Ph.D. from Northwestern in 2001.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *