CLEMSON — A fast-growing Clemson University school that is turning students into the tech leaders and entrepreneurs of the future will soon have a new director who wants to provide them new opportunities by expanding partnerships with industry worldwide.
Amy Apon on July 1 will become the new C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing. Apon has been on the school’s faculty for eight years, serving as the chair of the Division of Computer Science.
Apon said the opportunity to establish collaborations and have great impact attracted her to her new position.
“We have international recognition in a wide range of areas, including computer science, human-centered computing and visual computing,” she said. “Promoting our faculty’s great work and expanding collaborations will help us create new opportunities for our students and faculty.”
As director, Apon will be playing a key role in charting the course for the school’s ongoing expansion.
Enrollment in the School of Computing has more than doubled in 10 years, going from 509 students in 2009 to 1,083 last year. Much of the growth has been driven by undergraduate enrollment, which has increased 158 percent in the same period.
Among those congratulating Apon on her new position was Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.
“This is a well-deserved promotion,” Jones said. “Dr. Apon is a leading scholar in her field and an accomplished teacher. I look forward to working with her in her new role.”
The directorship in the School of Computing is named for C. Tycho Howle, a longtime supporter of Clemson, and was established by an endowment from him and his family. The endowment provides support for the director’s salary and various activities, including research.
The School of Computing is based in McAdams Hall on the university’s main campus, but it’s a statewide enterprise. The school offers graduate degree programs at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville and the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston.
“These are not just teaching sites — these are research sites,” Apon said. “There are so many opportunities in computing. We want to grow collaboration and engagement with our industrial partners in these locations.”
Apon brings to her new position deep experience in leadership, high-performance computing, the federal funding process and teaching.
Before joining Clemson, she started the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center and served as its founding director.
Apon joined Clemson as chair of the Division of Computer Science in 2011. One of her many accomplishments has been expanding gender diversity in the division.
Apon said that when she started as division chair, she was the only female faculty member working full time in the division, and another worked part time.
When the fall semester starts, six of the division’s 19 faculty members — nearly 32 percent — will be female, Apon said. Nationwide, 17 percent of tenured and tenure-track computer science faculty members are female, according to the Society of Women Engineers.
Also while at Clemson, Apon has helped grow the university’s high-performance computing capability through several significant grants from the National Science Foundation.
Further, she was selected to serve a year as a program officer with the National Science Foundation, giving her an opportunity to learn in depth the process for securing federal funding for research. Apon’s appointment was in the foundation’s Computer and Network Systems Division, which is part of the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.
Apon has received several significant awards throughout her career.
Among the latest is the Collaboration Award from Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. She shared the honor with Mashur Chowdhury, the Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation.
While in Arkansas, she received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award for Service to the university and state, the highest honor given to University of Arkansas faculty members. She also received the Imhoff Award for Contribution to Research in the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas, the college’s highest award.
Apon has advised 10 students who have graduated with Ph.D.s and 20 who have received master’s degrees. Another eight of her graduate students are on track to complete their degree programs by 2022.
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said that Howle’s support and Apon’s years of leadership are laying a solid foundation for the School of Computing.
“Tycho Howle’s continued generosity gives Clemson University a tremendous advantage as we deepen our impact in technology fields that are becoming increasingly important not only in the state but throughout society,” Gramopadhye said. “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Howle family and congratulate Dr. Apon on her new position. Securing solid leadership in the School of Computing is a key step forward in our continued success.”
C. Tycho Howle
C. Tycho Howle, a Lancaster native, and his family gave $2.5 million to Clemson University in 2004 to establish two endowed chairs– the C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing and the C. Tycho Howle Chair in Collaborative Computing Environments. Howle received his Bachelor of Science in physics and Master of Science in systems engineering (the forerunner to electrical and computer engineering), both from Clemson University. Howle later received an MBA from Harvard Business School. A company he founded in 1983, Harbinger Computer Services, grew to more than 40,000 active customers, 1,000 employees spread across eight countries, and annual revenues exceeding $155 million. He is now retired and splits his time between Naples, Florida and the Atlanta area.
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