Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Physics and astronomy professor Craig Kletzing has been named the inaugural holder of the Donald A. and Marie B. Gurnett Chair. The five-year appointment will begin July 1.

A named, endowed chair is the most prestigious honor given by the university to a faculty member, and is considered an essential tool in recruiting and retaining world-class faculty.

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Craig Kletzing

The Donald A. and Marie B. Gurnett Chair was established in 2015 by Professor Emeritus Donald Gurnett and his wife, Marie, of Iowa City. This endowed chair was established to support the salary of a faculty member who has a distinguished program in the areas of experimental space physics or space-based astronomy.

Kletzing, who joined the UI faculty in 1996, has focused much of his research on using rockets and satellites to learn about Earth’s auroras. In June 2019, NASA and the UI announced that a team of scientists led by Kletzing earned a $115 million NASA contract—the largest research award in the UI’s history—to study the connection between Earth and the sun’s magnetic fields. Kletzing also has been recognized as a skilled classroom teacher.

“Marie and I are pleased to have established the Gurnett Chair to support the future of experimental space physics at Iowa,” Gurnett says, “and we are delighted that Professor Kletzing has been appointed as the inaugural holder of the position. We are excited about Craig's work, and look forward to learning of his accomplishments in the years to come.”

Kletzing says he is humbled by the appointment.

“To be named the Gurnett Chair is an incredible honor,” Kletzing says. “In addition to being my friend and colleague throughout most of my career, Don is an absolute giant in our field. I intend to use the position to expand our knowledge of space with the vigor and diligence that Don has demonstrated for decades, and I’m extremely grateful for the privilege of doing it in his name.”

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