December 01, 2016

Lucas announces plans to retire in spring

Linda Lucas INSIDEProvost Linda LucasProvost Linda Lucas will retire in April 2017 after nearly 40 years of service as student, professor, chair, dean and top academic officer during the period that spanned the university’s adolescent years to its rise among top global universities. A national search to fill the position will begin immediately.

Lucas joined the School of Engineering faculty in 1982 as assistant professor and became chair of biomedical engineering in 1995. She was dean of the School of Engineering from 2000 to 2011 — one of 10 women in the nation to hold that position at the time — until she was named interim provost and then ultimately, in 2012, provost of UAB.

I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with such a talented faculty committed to innovation, service and the development of novel academic programs and research experiences.
— Linda Lucas

“As I reflect on nearly four decades of service to this university, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with such a talented faculty committed to innovation, service and the development of novel academic programs and research experiences. Together we have mentored and inspired scores of bright young students to realize their dreams, become leaders in their fields and have a positive impact on our world,” Lucas said.

During her tenure, UAB has earned increased research funding, record-high enrollments and rankings among the top 1 percent of world universities for the impact of its research and teaching.

 “Dr. Lucas has served this university for nearly 40 years and we deeply appreciate the dedication, skill and leadership she has brought to every role she assumed,” President Ray Watts said. 

“As a member of the faculty, chair and ultimately dean of our School of Engineering, Dr. Lucas collaborated on leading-edge research that advanced her field and UAB’s global reputation. At the same time, she taught and mentored future generations of engineers and, as UAB’s first female dean of engineering, inspired countless young women in the sciences,” Watts said. “As provost, she has been an outstanding advocate for our faculty across all disciplines, providing the partnership and support to help our faculty continue the teaching, research and service that has earned UAB international renown.

Dr. Lucas has served this university for nearly 40 years, and we deeply appreciate the dedication, skill and leadership she has brought to every role she assumed.
— President Ray Watts

“Dr. Lucas leaves a tremendous legacy as a faculty member, administrator, colleague and friend, and she will be missed,” Watts said.

During her five-plus years as provost, Lucas, working with faculty and staff, has left an indelible mark in many areas:

  • UAB’s Honors College and new, innovative undergraduate degree programs have elevated the university’s academic standing nationally.
  • Support for faculty and graduate education has helped catapult UAB to its international rank of No. 162 among U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best Global Universities.
  • New learning technologies are moving UAB to the forefront of online learning, making education more accessible and improving outcomes.  
  • The INTO UAB partnership is expanding international enrollment, which will increase the global diversity of our student body and enrich the learning experience for the campus community.

Lucas said she has been honored to support and partner with faculty, staff and students on these and many other efforts. “You will forever have my highest admiration for your work and my deepest pride in having been a part of it,” she said. “I will remain your colleague in spirit, friend and advocate as you continue the good work that is advancing our university, community and state, and bettering lives the world over.”  

Lucas, who earned undergraduate degrees in mathematics and chemistry from the University of Alabama, also earned five more at UAB — bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, plus master’s degrees in mathematics and education and a doctorate in biomedical engineering.

Lucas, who has focused her academic career on the development of biomaterials for orthopaedic and dental implants, holds departmental appointments in the schools of Engineering and Dentistry.

Lucas was on the inaugural Council of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and is a past president of three international professional organizations: the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the Society for Biomaterials. She is a fellow in the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineers and an international fellow of the Society for Biomaterials.

Lucas and her students have presented their work in more than 100 publications and made more than 250 presentations at scientific meetings.