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Stephen McCarthy Named University Professor

Longtime Plastics Engineering Educator, Researcher Praised

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Prof. Stephen McCarthy

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Prof. Stephen McCarthy of the Plastics Engineering Department, lauded by his peers and students for his exemplary teaching, outstanding research and extraordinary service to UMass Lowell for nearly three decades, has been awarded the prestigious title of University Professor.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award,” says McCarthy. “I’m very grateful to all my colleagues who have helped me achieve this recognition.”

In his nomination letter, Robert Parkin, mechanical engineering professor and chair of the College of Engineering Personnel Committee, said, “Dr. McCarthy has distinguished himself as a potent researcher. His areas of greatest interest are medical devices and bio-based plastics. His publication record is long and shows no sign of faltering.”

He went on to say: “[McCarthy’s] teaching has not been neglected in any way by his research and scholarly activities. In fact, students flock to his elective classes, as can be seen by the very high enrollments. Possibly the most impressive aspect of his professional life is the number of students he has mentored and who have received their doctorates and master’s degrees under his tutelage, both in plastics engineering and biomedical engineering. By my count, he has graduated 25 doctoral students and several times this number of master’s students.”

McCarthy’s research has earned him respect around the world. As principal investigator, he has obtained nearly $9 million in externally sponsored research grants and contracts, plus nearly $33 million in intellectual property donations to UMass Lowell. With a grant of $4 million from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he founded the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2), a signature program for the campus. He has also published widely, with more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, and holds eight U.S. and two international patents.

Prof. John Ting, dean of the Francis College of Engineering, writing in support of McCarthy’s nomination, described him as “an involved colleague, always willing to help in strategic initiatives as needed, including helping form meaningful global partnerships with institutions in Ireland and Egypt.”

McCarthy’s three-year term will run from September 2012 through August 2015. Previous University Professors include Susan Braunhut (Biology), 2008–11; Ken Geiser (Work Environment), 2009–12; Robert Giles (Physics), 2010–13; and Regina Panasuk (Education), 2011–14.

“As part of the award, the University Professor receives a salary supplement of $10,000 as well as one course reduction for each semester of the three-year term,” says Vice Provost for Graduate Education Don Pierson. “The professor’s department is also compensated each year to cover the cost of replacement instructors. The award winner is also expected to deliver an annual University-wide lecture.”

A resident of Tyngsboro, McCarthy first joined the UMass Lowell faculty in 1984. He holds a bachelor’s degree in textile chemistry from Southeastern Massachusetts University, a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in macromolecular science from Case Western Reserve University.

There will be a reception in the fall to acknowledge McCarthy’s appointment; he will deliver the annual University Professor lecture the following spring.