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Engineering Professor Named Director of B.N. Duke Scholarship Program

Michael Gustafson II, a professor in the Pratt School of Engineering, named director of BN Duke Scholarship Program

Michael Gustafson, who earned three degrees from Duke and teaches in the Pratt School of Engineering, will serve as faculty director of the B.N. Duke Scholarship program, Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education, announced Tuesday.

The B.N. Duke Scholarship program, housed in the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows (OUSF), selects residents of North and South Carolina for their high academic achievement, commitment to community service and potential for leadership. Full tuition, room and board costs and fees for eight semesters at Duke are covered by the scholarship. Students also participate in service and leadership development activities and two summer programs, one in the Carolinas and one abroad.

The scholarship was established by The Duke Endowment to honor Benjamin Newton Duke, one of the university’s founders.

''We’re delighted to have Professor Gustafson, or ’Dr. G‘ as the students call him, take on this important role with OUSF,'' Nowicki said. ''His in-depth work and interaction with Duke students in many dimensions across the university have earned him a reputation as a great professor and incredible mentor. We couldn’t have found a more dedicated Duke citizen.''

Gustafson, who came to Durham nearly 26 years ago from Memphis, TN, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke with a bachelor's degree in engineering. He stayed on to earn his master's degree (1998) and Ph.D. (1999) in mechanical engineering and materials science. Gustafson previously served as a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy as a naval reservist and continues his association with Duke’s three ROTC programs. Before taking on the B.N. Duke program, he served as faculty director for the Trinity and Alumni Endowed Scholars programs.  

Gustafson’s primary focus is on undergraduate curriculum and laboratory development, and in 2005 he was awarded the first-ever Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellent in Mentoring and Advising. Students praise him for his deep engagement in their lab exercises, and for his clarity, fairness, good humor and accessibility in and out of the classroom.  He has garnered student accolades for his first-year Computational Methods in Engineering (EGR 103L) course required for all Pratt students, and has also taught 17 other course topics totaling nearly 90 course offerings to more than 5,000 students.