Gezelter named College of Science associate dean of undergraduate studies

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Dan Gezelter, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been named associate dean for undergraduate studies for the University of Notre Dame College of Science, effective July 1, 2020.

Gezelter replaces Malgorzata “Margaret” Dobrowolska-Furdyna, the Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Professor of Physics, who served in that role for seven years.

“Margaret has been a tireless advocate for the undergraduates, particularly for students from underserved groups and first generation students,” Gezelter said. “Her leadership was instrumental in ensuring the success of the Science & Engineering Scholars Program.”

Dan Gezelter

Gezelter worked alongside Dobrowolska-Furdyna and Mary Galvin, William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science, in the development of that program at Notre Dame. The program, which started in 2018, provides smaller classes and individual mentoring in chemistry, calculus, and physics, within a supportive group of students.

“The best part of my day was definitely working with students; some needed my help, and being able to do so was always the highlight of my day,” Dobrowolska-Furdyna said. “Dan loves his students, and he goes out his way to help them.

“He is very thoughtful and resourceful.”

Gezelter earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and philosophy from Duke University and was a Churchill Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He earned his doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, before working as postdoctoral research scientist in the Department of Chemistry at Columbia University. He was hired as an associate professor at the University of Notre Dame in 1999 and was promoted to full professor in 2015.

As a member of the Notre Dame chemistry faculty, Gezelter served as both the director of undergraduate studies and the director of graduate admissions. He has earned several teaching awards, including the Shilts/Leonard teaching award in 2020, and the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in both 2013 and 2020.

Gezelter’s research focuses on molecular dynamics of complex interfaces. His laboratory develops new simulation methodology and software, simulates ice/water interfaces, metallic nanoparticles in liquid environments, lipid bilayers, and phase transitions and enantiomer separation in water.

“I’m humbled and excited by this opportunity to help our students succeed in science,” Gezelter said. “I hope to foster a welcoming culture in our college where students from many backgrounds can feel at home in a community of learners.”