Dr. Nino A. Masnari, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering and dean emeritus of the College of Engineering, passed away on May 19, 2018.
Masnari received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, all in electrical engineering, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1958, 1959 and 1964, respectively. His research interests were in the areas of silicon processing technologies and solid-state electronic devices.
He joined NC State in 1979 as the head of the Department of Electrical Engineering. In 1988, after nine years of leading the department, he was awarded leadership of a prestigious NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) and became the founding director of the NSF ERC on Advanced Electronic Materials Processing and the SEMATECH Center of Excellence on Advanced Single Wafer Processing, both at NC State.
In 1996, Masnari was appointed dean of the College of Engineering, a position he held from August 1996 through June 2006.
During his tenure as dean, the College experienced a new era of growth and accomplishment. In 1997, the College held the grand opening for the Engineering Graduate Research Center, now the Monteith Research Center, and established the Women in Engineering Program. With the passage of a bond referendum in November 2000, the College began its move to NC State’s Centennial Campus. Masnari oversaw the construction of the first two academic engineering buildings to be constructed at NC State since 1964. Engineering Buildings I and II opened in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Funding was also procured and design began on Engineering Building III under Masnari’s leadership.
With Masnari at the helm, the College grew into the third largest producer of engineering and computer science degrees in the nation and research expenditures in the College nearly doubled to more than $90 million annually. Scholarship funding more than quadrupled, with total endowments growing to more than $51 million. The College received its largest gift from a single individual, a $10 million endowment in support of industrial engineering. As a result, the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering became the first named academic department in the history of the University. In addition, the College established the joint Department of Biomedical Engineering with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and added a bachelor’s degree in paper science and engineering. The College also became a leader in distance education, ranking as one of the best online degree programs in the nation and adding 2+2 programs that serve students across the state.