I attended USF in the late 1970s and graduated in 1980 with a master’s degree in natural science with a specialty in physics. When I returned to USF in the mid-2000s, I was amazed by the change I saw in the department.
By that time, Pritish Mukherjee had come to run the department. He had led its transformation into something that has the ability to be world-class and recognized for leading-edge research. What I found most impressive was that he had taken the Physics Department away from being just a department for physics professors to one that is focusing on practical application. In the process, the department is letting students get involved in research that has industrial value.
The more I talked with Pritish, the more I realized we had a common vision for the department. That’s the reason I got involved. I wanted to help him find a way to retain quality professors because without them you don’t have a department. I’m glad that the award allows the professor to use the funds for whatever they need to further the research mission. I truly believe that you shouldn’t be overly specific about the use of funds so the individual can be creative.
The department has a superstar in George Nolas, and I’m delighted that he was the first to receive this annual award.