Mrs. Eugene McDermott made a gift in August 2000, creating the chair that Dr. Daniel assumed in June 2005. The chair supports the president of the University to enhance the presence and reputation of UT Dallas among internal and external constituency groups.
Dr. Daniel is a nationally recognized engineering professor. He served as President of the University from 2005 and until 2015, when he was appointed Deputy Chancellor of The University of Texas System. He was an architect of the effort to create more top-tier universities in Texas, leading to two legislative initiatives that pumped more than $600 million into the state’s emerging research universities.
Our region’s pathway to prosperity is through innovation. We’re realizing the vision of our University’s founders to create the ‘MIT of the Southwest’ more quickly than anyone might have imagined.
Dr. David E. Daniel was the fourth president of The University of Texas at Dallas. After his arrival in 2005, the University tripled its research expenditures, initiated or completed $600 million in construction of new buildings and infrastructure, added 40 new degree programs, raised more than $210 million in private funds and won two national collegiate chess championships.
Dr. Daniel advocated for developing and cultivating world-class research universities, and for UT Dallas to become one of the nation’s top research universities. He focused on hiring exceptional faculty members, attracting top students, delivering quality education, improving outcomes such as graduation rates, expanding diversity, and partnering with the community in research, education, outreach, the arts, and technology commercialization.
He received his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, and served on the faculty at UT Austin from 1980 to 1996. He then moved to the University of Illinois, finishing his service as dean of engineering before assuming the presidency at UT Dallas.
Dr. Daniel’s professional work has been recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which awarded him its highest honor for papers published in its journals, the Norman Medal, and twice honored him with its second-highest award, the Croes Medal. In 2010, the organization bestowed the OPAL (Outstanding Projects and Leaders) Award for lifetime achievement in engineering education.
He was one of a handful of national experts called upon in recent years to examine the levee failure after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the investigation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2000, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the nation’s most prestigious organization recognizing engineering achievement. In 2009, he served as president of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST), an organization comprised of all Texas residents who have won Nobel Prizes or been elected to one of the three National Academies.