First female chancellor to lead aeronautics finest at Embry-Riddle Prescott

A mechanical and aerospace engineer and highly awarded academic has been named the new chancellor of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s campus in Prescott, Arizona.

New Chancellor Anette Karlsson, the first woman to hold the position in the aviation and engineering school’s 41-year history, said she is excited about carrying on its mission to lead research and prepare future leaders for military and private industry. 

“I’m honored to join the dynamic Prescott Campus of the world’s leading aviation and aerospace university,” said Karlsson, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering who has a Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Rutgers University. 

Karlsson said her leadership style will be “highly collaborative.” 

“As Embry-Riddle’s new chancellor on the Prescott campus, listening, learning and gaining trust will be important first steps for me,” Karlsson said. “That will be an essential foundation for us as we work together to elevate Embry-Riddle’s Prescott campus.” 

As Karlsson steps into her new role, the campus just experienced its largest graduating class since its inception in 1978. More than 400 students graduated. Forty-six received military commissions.

Former professor, dean of engineering, researcher 

Karlsson arrives from Cleveland where she was a professor and dean of the Washkewicz College of Engineering at Cleveland State University (CSU) for seven years. 

During her tenure at CSU, the College of Engineering almost doubled the number of undergraduate students, and secured funding for and completed construction of a new, state-of-the-art engineering building, said Jianping Zhu, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Cleveland State. 

Prior to working at CSU, Karlsson chaired the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. Earlier in her career, she worked as a research and design engineer for Saab Missiles and Saab Aerospace, and as a technical attaché of material science for Sweden’s Embassy in the United States. Her research interests focus on the thermo-mechanical properties of advanced materials with an emphasis on the durability of materials used in clean energy production.

Karlsson’s impressive honors and awards include the U.S. Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and the University of Delaware’s E.A. Trabant Award for Women’s Equity and Young Scholars Award of the Francis Alison Society.

Karlsson succeeds Frank Ayers, who was chancellor for the past decade.

Embry-Riddle research and studies propel modern aviation  

Under Ayers’ leadership, enrollment increased 60 percent, the female student body rose from 17 to 25 percent, and 17 new degree and athletic programs were added.  

Embry-Riddle also opened the nation’s first and only College of Security and Intelligence in 2014 and the new state-of-the-art STEM Education Center featuring the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium opened in October 2017. 

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University was founded in 1931 and is the largest accredited university system specializing in aviation, aerospace engineering and aeronautics. It has two campuses including its Daytona campus in Florida and its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations across the United States, Europe and Asia.

Embry-Riddle researchers develop solutions for industry and government partners to support the nation’s future air transportation needs with new technology. Its graduates are courted by military branches, and companies like Boeing, Northrup Grumman and major U.S. airlines.

Read about Embry-Riddle’s recent partnership with Korean Airlines to address a pilot shortage at: Embry-Riddle partners with Korean Airlines.

Photo courtesy of Embry-Riddle

Victoria Harker

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