By Paul Gabrielsen
Darryl P. Butt, associate director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls, Idaho and distinguished professor of materials science and engineering at Boise State University will be the next dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences at the University of Utah.
“Dr. Darryl Butt has a remarkable record of achievement, as a scientist studying materials processing and performance in extreme conditions, as an educator and mentor, and as a team builder,” said Ruth Watkins, senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the U. “We are delighted that he is joining the University of Utah leadership team.”
Butt earned a doctorate in materials science from Pennsylvania State University and had also held positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Florida before moving to Boise State University in 2005. As materials science and engineering department chair from 2008-2013, Butt helped develop Boise State’s materials program from its small beginnings into one of the largest such programs in the western United States. His research has focused on materials processing and materials performance in extreme environments, carbon sequestration and nuclear non-proliferation policy. He has also employed laboratory techniques to help identify the provenance of cultural artifacts. Of his accomplishments, Butt is most proud of his wife and three children, and of his experiences as a mentor, teacher and collaborator. He believes positive relationships are key to advancing science. “Much is accomplished through the good will of others,” he said.
The College of Mines and Earth Sciences is focused on topics that are immediately important to society, Butt said, such as climate change, sustainability and security of energy and natural resources. “That college, in order to be relevant, needs to be connected to the whole world,” he said. To that end, he hopes to foster international opportunities, collaborations and experiences. “It’s a great college to be in right now,” he said.
Butt looks forward to continuing collaborations with University of Utah faculty and forging new collaborations with other Pac-12 universities. He and his wife also look forward to skiing in the Utah mountains.
Butt replaces geologist Frank Brown, who is retiring after 26 years as dean. One of Brown’s signature accomplishments as dean was the construction of the Frederick Albert Sutton Building, now home of the Department of Geology and Geophysics. “To follow in the footsteps of someone like that is pretty intimidating,” Butt said, and added that U faculty, including Brown, have made him feel at home in the college. “He is a true statesman,” Butt said of Brown. “I look forward to being mentored by him.”
Paul Gabrielsen is a senior science writer at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.