Baylor Welcomes Leading Engineering Researcher as Inaugural Kenneth and Celia Carlile Endowed Chair in Materials Science
J. Brian Jordon, Ph.D., comes to Baylor from the University of Alabama, bringing highly regarded research lab and leadership to advance the University’s materials science efforts
By Derek Smith, Baylor University Marketing & Communications
WACO, Texas (July 28, 2022) – Baylor University announced today the hiring of J. Brian Jordon, Ph.D., to serve as the inaugural Kenneth and Celia Carlile Endowed Chair in Materials Science. Jordon brings an active and highly regarded research lab to Baylor from the University of Alabama, where he established a national reputation for research addressing issues of additive manufacturing, materials processing, welding and joining, performance and more in advanced materials.
“I’m excited and honored to serve as the first Kenneth and Celia Carlile Endowed Chair in Materials Science,” Jordon said. “The opportunity to be on the ground floor of Baylor’s materials science research direction was compelling. Visiting, I was blown away by the facilities, like the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), in their potential for research. Then, as a believer, the opportunity to go to a private university with a core Christian mission is very attractive, and I have bought enthusiastically in Baylor’s vision.”
Jordon served 12 years in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Materials Science Program at Alabama, advancing to the rank of full professor in 2021. He will officially join the Baylor faculty on Aug. 1. Nine students and a research engineer will make the move along with Jordon, and Jordon’s longtime colleague and collaborator, Paul Allison, Ph.D., also will join the Baylor faculty as professor of mechanical engineering.
“We are looking forward to Dr. Brian Jordon and his colleagues joining Baylor and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Jordon oversees a large multimillion-dollar research effort in advanced additive manufacturing in metals,” said Dennis O’Neal, Ph.D., dean of Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science. “This research is sponsored by a number of Federal agencies and has potential for broad applications in the defense and oil and gas industry. Bringing Dr. Jordon and his team to Baylor University will put the School of Engineering and Computer Science in the forefront of developing this technology. Both undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to work in his laboratory with this state-of-the-art technology.”
Applied metals research
Leading the Jordon Research Group, Jordon has built research partnerships with external organizations like NASA, the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and various national and international industries, earning significant external funding for materials projects in friction stir welding, cold spray deposition and additive friction stir deposition—areas that present advanced materials manufacturers with challenges to be solved to enhance their future use.
“I primarily study metals but with a focus on quantifying relationships between process, structure and properties,” Jordon said. “I’m interested in understanding the link between how materials are processed and the impact on performance. The broader impact of those for society is that we can make things lighter, more fuel efficient, stronger and better for the environment.”
Passionate about mentorship as well as his discipline, Jordon views teaching and research in applied metals research as a “conduit for training up the next generation. I’m floored and humbled that so many students chose to come with me from Alabama and excited to work with students at Baylor.”
In addition to students, Allison will continue as a research partner and colleague with Jordon, beginning this fall at Baylor. In Jordon, Allison sees a strong fit as the first Carlile Chair.
“Brian as great leadership skills and vision, which will translate to growing the materials program at Baylor,” Allison said. “He is also very caring person. He cares about the students and is an excellent mentor for students even after they graduate. This caring attitude translates to his research, too, and students see this firsthand.”
Materials science leadership
In his role as the Carlile Chair, Jordon will provide interdisciplinary leadership to Baylor’s efforts in materials science research. Materials science is a signature initiative of Illuminate, the strategic plan that guided Baylor to its long-stated goal of achieving R1 research recognition from The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in December 2021. From his position in Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), Jordon will work with materials-focused researchers in ECS, chemistry, physics and more.
“What Dr. Jordon and his team bring to Baylor is a level of expertise that will enable us to develop a well-defined program of research in material science, one of the five academic initiatives in Illuminate,” Baylor Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., said. “Jordon’s cutting-edge research also will provide opportunities for students to engage in research that is fundamentally changing new technologies and what they can do in service to humankind.”
The Kenneth and Celia Carlile Endowed Chair in Materials Science was established in February 2020 by Ken and Celia Carlile of Marshall, Texas, in support of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and the Give Light campaign, Baylor’s comprehensive fundraising campaign that has raised more than $1.2 billion in support of the University’s aspirations within Illuminate. The Carlile Chair is a permanent endowment to attract, retain and support a distinguished faculty member who will further Baylor’s mission through innovative research and teaching that addresses the world’s most challenging problems in the area of Materials Science. The holder of the Carlile Chair is a Foster Academic Challenge Scholar, receiving matching support through the Foster Academic Challenge, established as part of a $100 million gift from Paul and Alejandra Foster of El Paso, Texas, aimed at supporting the University’s efforts to generate high-impact research and scholarship through matching support.
“When I first saw the posting for this position, it sounded like Baylor was serious about further growing materials research, but you can never be sure until you step on campus and talk to people,” Jordon said. “When I visited, I came away floored. You realize the seriousness of Baylor’s efforts—the support system is there. And I’m grateful to the Carliles for their decision to invest in this position, which provides the resources necessary to do this type of research along with fellow faculty members and students at Baylor.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) has been preparing its students for more than 25 years as innovators for worldwide impact by training graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian view. Students can choose from majors including bioinformatics, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering and mechanical engineering. ECS also offers graduate programs in all areas of study within the School. We stand out from the crowd through Christian commitment, a strong community, expert accessibility, leading practical experience and teamwork. Visit baylor.edu/ecs to learn more and follow on Facebook at facebook.com/BaylorECS and on Instagram at @Baylor_ECS.