Duderstadt, James J.

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James J. Duderstadt Papers

The materials in Deep Blue are part of a larger record group held at the Bentley Historical Library. For a complete listing of archival materials, see the James J. Duderstadt online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Nuclear engineer, professor and eleventh president of the University of Michigan (1988-1996), leader in efforts to transform the University of Michigan, and higher education generally, into a culturally diverse, financially secure, and technologically advanced institution. Includes speeches, presentations, writings and images. Portions of the collection are restricted. This collection represents the "personal papers" of president Duderstadt. Other material relating to his presidency is located in the record group "University of Michigan. President."


Nuclear engineer and eleventh President of the University of Michigan, James J. Duderstadt worked both to position the university as a leader in higher education and to transform the university into a new institutional "model" for higher education --an institutional model that could readily adapt to the changing needs of society.

Born on December 5, 1942 in Iowa, Duderstadt was raised in Carollton, Missouri. Duderstadt earned his B.S. in electrical engineering (summa cum laude), Yale University (1964); M.S. in engineering science, California Institute of Science (1965); and Ph.D. in engineering science and physics, California Institute of Technology (1967). Duderstadt's dissertation won the American Nuclear Society Mark Mills award, an honor presented to the nation's most outstanding Ph.D. dissertation in nuclear science and engineering. He married a high school classmate, Anne Marie Lock, in 1964. The Duderstadts have two daughters: Susan and Katharine.

After completing his master's and doctoral degrees in just three years, Duderstadt held a postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. In 1969 Duderstadt accepted an appointment as assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He achieved the status of full professor in 1976.

In the classroom, Duderstadt was the recipient of many awards for both his teaching and research efforts. He was the primary supervisor for twenty-two doctoral dissertations, co-authored several engineering textbooks, and published over sixty journal articles in the areas of nuclear reactor theory, radiation transport, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics, plasma physics, and computer simulation.

In 1981, Professor Duderstadt was appointed dean of the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. By 1986, Duderstadt had "rebuilt" the Engineering campus and reestablished the prestige of the college within the university and state of Michigan.

In 1986, Duderstadt was appointed University of Michigan's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. On June 10, 1988, the Regents of the University named James J. Duderstadt the 11th president of the University of Michigan. As president, he can be credited for instituting several changes in the cultural and physical landscape of Michigan. His vision of a multicultural community for the twenty-first century resulted in a strategic plan for the university titled The Michigan Mandate: A Strategic Linking of Academic Excellence and Social Diversity. New construction, renovation, and major improvements were realized through an enthusiastic fund-raising campaign called the "Campaign for Michigan." In addition to his efforts in shaping the campus both culturally and physically, Duderstadt can also be credited with overseeing the development of several research initiatives.

Duderstadt stepped down as president in 1996 and returned to the classroom as Professor of Science and Technology at Michigan. In addition, he heads the Millennium Project, a research center in the Media Union concerned with the impact of technology on research and teaching.

Dr. Duderstadt's teaching and research interests have spanned a wide range of subjects in science, mathematics, and engineering, including nuclear fission reactors, thermonuclear fusion, high-powered lasers, computer simulation, information technology, and policy development in areas such as energy, education, and science. He has published extensively in these areas, including over 30 books and 200 technical publications.

During his career, Duderstadt has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his research, teaching, and service activities, including the E. O. Lawrence Award for excellence in nuclear research, the Arthur Holly Compton Prize for outstanding teaching, and the National Medal of Technology for exemplary service to the nation, and the Vannevar Bush Award for lifelong contributions to the welfare of the Nation through public service activities in science, technology, and public policy. He has been elected to numerous honorific societies including the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Science, Phi Beta Kappa, and Tau Beta Pi.

Dr. Duderstadt has served on or chaired many public and private boards including the National Science Board; numerous committees of the National Academies including the Executive Council of the National Academy of Engineering and the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy; the National Commission on the Future of Higher Education; the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee of the Department of Energy; and business organizations such as the Big Ten Athletic Conference, the University of Michigan Hospitals, Unisys, and CMS Energy.

Dr. Duderstadt currently serves as chair of the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Research Council, co-director of the Glion Colloquium (Switzerland), nonresident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the DOE CASL Nuclear Energy Innovation Hub. He continues to serve on numerous national boards and study commissions in areas such as federal science policy, higher education, information technology, energy sciences, and national security as well as a member of the advisory boards of many colleges and universities.

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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