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Engineering success: Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie and the birth of a new college
 

 

Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie has seen the world. From the sun-kissed sands of Kingston, Jamaica, to the cobblestones on Coronation Street in Manchester, England. From the placid, cold waters of the Charles River surrounding Boston, to the wide-open and impossibly blue skies of College Station, Texas.

As it turns out, to find the next step in his journey of accomplishment and success, all he needed to do was look out of his window in Upstate South Carolina.

It was in his backyard all along: an institution called AU, with humble roots built by people just like him—those with a passion for innovation and a commitment to Christian liberal arts education.

“I wanted to be part of that magic,” he said. But something was missing.

Dr. Guiseppi-Elie is one of the most respected engineers working in academia today.

He founded companies that developed a way to monitor blood loss in victims of serious injuries. He holds eight U.S. and foreign patents, and has worked with the United States Department of Defense and civilian organizations in utilizing his life-saving technologies for service members and healthcare workers. He served as the founding associate dean of Engineering Innovation of the Engineering Medicine program at Texas A&M University and as the head of the university’s biomedical engineering department. He holds degrees from the University of the West Indies, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

That made him a perfect fit to help bring something new to Anderson University: an engineering program.

While he worked as a research professor at Texas A&M University beginning in 2015, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie commuted from his home in Anderson, South Carolina. Before taking the position at Texas A&M, he taught at Clemson University for a decade and served as the Dow Chemical Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering.


"He understands and speaks the language of local industry, and more than that, he is driven to serve South Carolina’s industry especially by providing them with exceptional engineers who have the design and technical skills required for new product development, manufacturing improvement, systems integration and resource management. Industry leaders are going to feel that Tony is one of their strongest advocates."​​​​​​​
 

— Evans P. Whitaker, Ph.D.
President & Professor of Management


President Evans Whitaker and his wife, Diane Whitaker, met Dr. Guiseppi-Elie and his wife, Annette, at a dinner party hosted by Anderson University regents Marshall and Bitsy Pickens. In casual conversation, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie shared how impressed he was by the accomplishments and growth of the University.

“We developed a fast friendship, and before long we began talking about opportunities to offer engineering at Anderson in a way that would be distinct from most engineering programs,” Dr. Whitaker said. “From there, we established a blue ribbon task force of engineers and industry representatives to study the feasibility of such a program.”

The group, formed in 2015 and comprised of Anderson University administrators and other academics who’ve led engineering programs at other universities, met several times a year. Dr. Whitaker said the conclusion of the task force was that an engineering program was “needed in our state and that AU is uniquely positioned and resourced to launch it.”

And there was only one person uniquely qualified to lead it.

Dr. Guiseppi-Elie joined Anderson University last August as founding dean of the Anderson University College of Engineering, as vice president for industry relations and a University distinguished professor. He is actively and aggressively recruiting students ahead of the program’s formal launch. He said students of the College of Engineering will have the education not only to serve as excellent engineers, but also be able to translate the facts and figures to the stakeholders of engineering projects, be it a computer or an assembly line.

Anderson, said Dr. Guiseppi-Elie, is the perfect place to produce such articulate engineers because its thoughtful liberal arts core curriculum is central to all of its academic programs.

He applauds Dr. Whitaker’s success in starting new programs. He believes Dr. Whitaker’s vision, research and careful staging of the program’s implementation will make engineering a success at Anderson.

Dr. Guiseppi-Elie said that the first thing that AU must do as it creates a College of Engineering is to seek God’s guidance. AU has great leadership, and the school must pray that everyone works together to embrace the new venture. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie hasn’t seen AU leaders and deans saying, “No, we can’t,” but rather, “How can we help?”

AU needs the community’s involvement as well, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie said. The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, community leaders and business executives all have a role to play. Consulting with these officials will help AU produce engineers to serve the growing and evolving industry in the I-85 corridor.

Faculty involvement across the University is also key. Learning from professors’ experiences with students in their disciplines can inform how the new College of Engineering can build relationships with its own students.

In addition to Dr. Guiseppi-Elie’s curriculum vitae, Dr. Whitaker said he is a phenomenal leader to start the Anderson University College of Engineering.

“Dr. Guiseppi-Elie is not only highly credentialed, he is also an excellent fit with Anderson’s Christian ethos and culture, and he is passionate about this opportunity and AU’s mission,” Dr. Whitaker said. “Beyond that, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie is a builder. He has the ability to start something from scratch, put it on firm footing and continuously refine it.”

In his work at Texas A&M, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie not only led the biomedical engineering program; he advised and nurtured “exceptional” doctoral students as a professor. “I don’t know of anyone better to build our College of Engineering, and anyone I’d like to do it more,” Dr. Whitaker said.

Dr. James M. Tour, a professor of computer science and materials and nanoengineering at Rice University, said AU is “lucky” and “blessed” to have Dr. Guiseppi-Elie leading the creation of its College of Engineering.

Dr. Tour, who has known him for 25 years, described Dr. Guiseppi-Elie as both “a gentleman” and “fearless.” He’s “calm, very respectful, cordial, polite and hard-working,” Dr. Tour said. He sees AU’s program benefitting from Dr. Guiseppi-Elie’s experience at other universities and his leadership roles in both corporate and small businesses. Dr. Whitaker said Dr. Guiseppi-Elie’s personal traits and range of experiences will help him connect with industry leaders in his role as vice president of industry relations.

“He understands and speaks the language of local industry, and more than that, he is driven to serve South Carolina’s industry especially by providing them with exceptional engineers who have the design and technical skills required for new product development, manufacturing improvement, systems integration and resource management,” Dr. Whitaker said. “Industry leaders are going to feel that Tony is one of their strongest advocates.”

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie studied analytical chemistry, applied chemistry and biochemistry at The University of the West Indies. He holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. Dr. Guiseppi-Elie earned his doctoral degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to being a highly sought-after speaker and consultant on biomedical device entrepreneurism and academic program creation, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Award in bioengineering at the University of Tucumán in Argentina.


In his work at Texas A&M, Dr. Guiseppi-Elie not only led the biomedical engineering program; he advised and nurtured “exceptional” doctoral students as a professor. “I don’t know of anyone better to build our College of Engineering, and anyone I’d like to do it more,” Dr. Whitaker said.

Dr. Tour described Dr. Guiseppi-Elie as his hero, f4and Dr. Whitaker says Dr. Guiseppi-Elie is “a brilliant scholar-leader.”

“He’s smart, practical and engaging,” Dr. Whitaker said. “He will sit at the table with all our vice presidents and myself to shape and lead our future advancement as a leading comprehensive university.”