February 28, 2011

Universities can be key assets for a state’s growth through research and outreach. Here in Louisiana, LSU is on the forefront of trying to develop those opportunities, and it is with that thought in mind that the Manship School of Mass Communication partnered with the College of Engineering to bring internationally renowned industrial engineer Gavriel Salvendy to serve as a Public Policy Fellow in the Manship School’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.

Salvendy, touted by the Wall Street Journal as China’s “guru of productivity,” is a professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Purdue University and chair professor and head of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and P.R. of China.  Most recently, he worked closely with universities in China and the European Union over the past decade to shape them into an economic driver.  His main research deals with the human aspects of design, operation and management of advanced engineering systems. 

In addition to a lecture in the Manship School’s Holliday Forum, Salvendy met with legislators, members of the academic community, business leaders, students and citizens on the value of LSU, its impact on the economy and what changes need to occur at the university and state level to achieve maximum research and economic impact to further increase LSU and Louisiana’s national and international reputation. 

“The fundamental way to increase the standard of living in a state is through education,” said Salvendy, who has published more than 540 research publications including more than 290 journal publications and 36 books, appearing in seven languages.  “To feed economic growth, a state needs people with the right education level to match the needs of economic opportunity and continue to grow the types of jobs that require advanced education levels.”

He stressed specialization as the key to valuable research, both along the strengths and resources of Louisiana, and in the areas that will become more important in the future.

“LSU can be a leader in energy research,” he said. “Because that is what you have here with the petroleum industry. A focus on petroleum is good for Louisiana’s economy, but it is also important to diversify into other areas, like wind, solar or nuclear.”

Evidence of energy research leadership in the LSU College of Engineering is validated with the Petroleum Engineering Research & Technology Transfer Laboratory­, the only university-based facility with industrial-scale equipment and instrumentation for conducting training and research related to borehole technology.  In addition, LSU is home to one of 46 new multi-million-dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC), the Center for Atomic-Level Catalyst Design, one of the only EFRCs awarded in the region.

Salvendy’s personal story is an inspiration itself. A Hungarian-Israeli-American, he survived Nazi occupation during World War II Europe. In London, he discovered a knack for redesigning factory systems. After his story made the Financial Times, even though he has never graduated from high school or had a bachelor degree, a professor at the University of Birmingham, UK, invited him to pursue his master’s and Ph.D. in production engineering.

During his lecture at the Manship School, Salvendy spoke of an array of research projects whose impact makes our daily lives more efficient.  On his time working at Tsinghua University, Salvendy stressed the importance of reaching out to schools in other countries.

“This was a great opportunity for LSU to host a world renowned leader recognized internationally in science and engineering,” said Richard Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering. “Dr. Salvendy’s visit to Baton Rouge and interaction with university and local officials will open discussions on how to maximize research and economic impact nationally and across the globe.”

Each year, the Reilly Center invites nationally recognized public policy experts to the university to discuss issues of importance to Louisiana. Each Fellow meets with policy makers, members of the academic community, business leaders, students and citizens. In addition, they provide a written paper published by the Reilly Center. For more information on Reilly Center Fellows, please contact Heather Herman at 225-578-7312.

Article by Billy Gomila, LSU Media Relations, bgomila@lsu.edu, 225-578-3867



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