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Professor Gabriel P. Potirniche Named New Chair of Department of Mechanical Engineering

June 12, 2020

Mechanical Engineering Professor Gabriel P. Potirniche will begin his position as chair of the University of Idaho College of Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering on Sunday, June 28. Potirniche was recently promoted to full professor in mechanical engineering at U of I. He received his doctorate from Mississippi State University and joined U of I in 2007 as an assistant professor. He teaches and performed research in computational solid mechanics. His main area of expertise is fatigue and fracture mechanics in metallic alloys used in structural applications. In addition, Potirniche has coordinated the graduate program in his department and has been involved in college and departmental committees dealing with curriculum, bylaws and program accreditation. He was the recipient of the 2015 U of I Mid-Career Award.

Potirniche is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Idaho, and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has published two book chapters, more than 60 journal papers and conference proceedings and made over 40 presentations at international and national conferences. His interdisciplinary research has been funded by the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, Micron Technology, Murdock Charitable Trust and II-VI Foundation.

"I have known professor Potirniche since he arrived at U of I and observed his performance as he advanced his career," said Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering. "He is bright, thoughtful and a hard worker. I believe he will be an excellent chair for mechanical engineering and carefully guide the department through these challenging times."

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at