Lance R. Collins is the inaugural vice president and executive director of the future Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, scheduled to open in Alexandria, Va., in 2024. The former Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering at Cornell University, Collins is recognized for creating opportunities and access to engineering education for diverse communities.
Collins, whose research specialty is turbulence and fluid dynamics, also served as the S. C. Thomas Sze Director of Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.
Prior to that appointment, he directed graduate studies for aerospace engineering. Collins joined Cornell in 2002, following 11 years as assistant professor, associate professor, and professor of chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. From 1999 until his departure, he also held a joint appointment in the school’s Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department. In 1998 he was a visiting scientist at the Laboratoire de Combustion et Systémes Réactifs (a National Center for Scientific Research laboratory in Orleans, France) and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
His research is focused on the application of direct numerical simulation to a broad range of turbulent processes. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). In 2014, he received the William Grimes Award from the AIChE, and in 2021, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
In 2017, Cornell Mosaic, the Cornell Black Alumni Association and Cornell Engineering, awarded Collins its Medal of Distinction. The medal recognizes Cornell faculty members, administrators, and alumni for their impact and leadership in creating opportunities for diverse communities. Cornell alumni and friends created Mosaic in 2006 to increase the number of diverse alumni engaged with the university.
Collins received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from University of Pennsylvania.