April 17, 2008
Dear MCEER friends/colleagues,
Almost one year after the end of MCEER’s NSF ERC funding, I am pleased that the Center has answered the challenge and continued to lead innovative research and pursue its multi-hazard engineering vision, bolstered by its sponsors. With MCEER established on strong foundations and, tools in hand, certain to continue generating new knowledge through cutting-edge research for years to come, it is timely to pass the torch. After having served for 10 years in the leadership of MCEER, I believe that it is time for fresh ideas and new energies to build on the strengths of the Center. As a result, I have decided to step down as MCEER Director, effective August 31, 2008.
The Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo has tasked a committee (to which I am contributing) to develop recommendations for the new leadership of MCEER. I am confident that this process will allow for a smooth transition and will harness the capable talent of highly regarded faculty investigators, enabling the Center to further grow, expand its value for society, and engage the broader earthquake and multi-hazard engineering communities.
I am pleased that many can take pride in the numerous accomplishments of MCEER to date; all who have been affiliated with the Center share in these accomplishments. I am particularly pleased that, during my tenure as Director, the Center has received glowing reviews for the accomplishments of its NSF-funded program, has renewed its Federal Highway Administration funding, and that the New York State funding of MCEER has been secured beyond the end of the NSF ERC project. The broadened scope of MCEER and its leadership role to advance multi-hazard engineering and disaster resilience against a spectrum of extreme events has also received expanded positive visibility, nationally and internationally.
It has been a privilege to serve as Director of MCEER since 2003 and as Deputy Director for five years prior. This experience has been invaluable and has provided me with countless new insights and possibilities, from perspectives on the academic enterprise and administration, to opportunities to contribute shaping the national research agenda. I am grateful for the confidence and sustained support I have received from so many over that period. I strongly believe that successful major initiatives are never the result of a single person’s vision, but rather the fruits of integrated teams working together towards a common goal. In my experience, I have found that the collection of the talents involved always produces a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. My most sincere thanks go to all the investigators, partners, students, and staff that have made the past decade amazing – a list too prohibitively long to include here.
Over the immediate next few years, I will refocus my full attention onto personal scholarly pursuits that have inevitably suffered from my administrative responsibilities. I also anticipate tackling new challenges that will contribute to the continued success of MCEER for many years to come.
Michel Bruneau, Ph.D., P.Eng.