Dean Dennis Horn (1997-2012)

Dean Dennis Horn has retired after 15 years of leading Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. In that time, he more than doubled the enrollment of the school; oversaw construction of the PACCAR Center of Applied Science, a LEED certified Gold building; and developed various academic programs, including the Engineering in Florence program and the Transmission & Distribution program, which now offers a master’s degree. In short, he changed what it means to be an engineering student at Gonzaga.

“I’m coming to Gonzaga because Dean Horn did such a spectacular job,” said his successor, Stephen E. Silliman.

The school consisted of 280 engineering students when Horn arrived in 1997. Today, nearly 700 engineering students make up about 15 percent of Gonzaga students. They study in a renovated Herak building and the most energy-efficient building on campus, PACCAR. Not only are the buildings functional, but Horn made sure they were beautiful as well, adding artwork and project displays.
The Florence program is a major addition to the curriculum, giving engineering sophomores the chance to participate in the long-standing Gonzaga tradition. “As an engineer, I was worried about finding a study abroad opportunity,” said senior Alyssa Imai. “But as it turns out, the engineering program in Florence fixed all my problems.”

Under Horn’s watch, grants from the Kern Family Foundation have led to a commitment to expose all engineering students to entrepreneurial thinking and skills. Changes driven by Horn helped the School of Engineering and Applied Science reach a US News & World Report rank of the 17th best undergraduate engineering program in the nation (among schools without a doctorate in engineering).

“Dennis has vision. He saw where we should go, and had the ability to lead us there. He never stopped pursuing his vision,” said Professor Paul Nowak.

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