Iowa State names alumnus as next dean of engineering

AMES – W. Samuel Easterling from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has been named the next James L. and Katherine S. Melsa Dean of Engineering at Iowa State University.

Easterling, Montague-Betts Professor of Structural Steel Design and head of the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, will begin his tenure July 15.

“Dr. Easterling is an accomplished educator, scholar and administrator, and has long been a leader in his discipline of structural engineering,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. “He is a great choice to build on the College of Engineering’s excellence and national prestige, and we are proud to welcome him back to campus.” 

Easterling holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in structural engineering from Iowa State. A registered professional engineer, he joined Virginia Tech in 1987, and is a former president of its faculty senate. Easterling also is active within the American Institute of Steel Construction, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the American Society of Civil Engineers, and has won numerous awards for his research and professional service.

“It’s an incredible and humbling opportunity to come back to Ames and lead the college where I earned my Ph.D.,” Easterling said. “I look forward to working with our students, faculty, staff and alumni to build upon the legacy of those who came before me and, with their support, helping the college climb to even greater heights.”

In making the announcement, Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert thanked retiring dean Sarah Rajala for her leadership of the college, and members of the search committee and campus community for their thoughtful consideration of candidates.