The Stearns Award was initiated in 1953, the year of the resignation of Robert L. Stearns (A&S’14) as the sixth president of the University. He had presided over CU since 1939. The award recognizes members of the faculty and staff for extraordinary achievement or service in any one or combination of the following areas: teaching, service to the University, work with students, research or off-campus service. Award winners receive a medal.
Rob Davis is an engineer, and engineers like numbers. Here are five: 14, 20, 32, 74 — and 74 million. In 14 years as dean of CU Boulder’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, Rob led it to a new, sparkling prominence...
The college now ranks among the nation’s top 20 public engineering programs, its loftiest perch yet.
He oversaw a doubling of the percentage of underrepresented minorities among CU engineering students, to 20 percent, and nearly doubled the percentage of women, to 32 percent — while growing total enrollment by 74 percent and raising admissions standards.
Meanwhile, Rob, who stepped down at the end of last year, led the once cash-strapped college to financial security and enabled both an expansion of research activity and a doubling of annual research funding, to $74 million.
As one colleague put it, Rob “changed the very nature and trajectory of our college.”
Other numbers testify to his extraordinary service. Here’s one more: 220. That’s the number of student researchers, from undergraduates through postdocs, that Rob has personally mentored — a practice he continued while running CU Boulder’s second biggest college.
But numbers tell only aspects of Rob’s 35-year CU story, still unfolding following his return to the full-time chemical engineering faculty.
“He’s the only dean I know,” said another colleague, “who’s offered to babysit while working in his office.”