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Dr. Mark Zappi Receives 2020 Distinguished Professor Award

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It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce, Dr. Mark Zappi as the University's 2020 Distinguished Professor Award honoree.

The UL Lafayette Foundation's Eminent Faculty Awards honors faculty members for their outstanding efforts in teaching, research and service learning outreach.

"The Distinguished Professor Award honors faculty who have performed at the top of their field while advancing the reputation and scholarly atmosphere at UL. This description embodies Dr. Zappi’s performance as a faculty member at UL, and in fact, it embodies his approach to his career over the past 25 years.” Says Dr. Ahmed Khattab, Interim Dean for the College of Engineering.

“Dr. Zappi’s leadership, infectious enthusiasm, high-energy, and vision has propelled him into a global leadership role that has elevated UL’s reputation and helped maintain Louisiana as a leading US energy state,” said Khattab

To say that Dr. Zappi is a people-person is an understatement. His passion for teaching and working with future engineers to give them the confidence in themselves and the knowledge to solve complex world problems is inspiring. His teaching is heralded by students as entertaining, packed with real-world experience, and challenging as he pushes them to learn the material and meet their full potential. Building people into great engineers is Dr. Zappi’s passion and gift.

Dr. Zappi also works tirelessly to research new technologies that can change the lives of people across the world and beyond. He is currently designing novel methods to convert urban areas into biorefineries that will totally change the way society views garbage by making these commodities novel inputs for producing new green fuels and chemicals. He is also leading a research team at UL (funded by NASA) to apply biorefinery concepts for the first human camp on Mars!  Dr. Zappi has generated over $50,000,000 in external research funds to date with more coming as he is a prolific and accomplished proposal writer (over $9M since arriving at UL). He has over 80 peer-reviewed journal papers to his credit (and over 200 technical documents all totaled).  His papers have been cited 2,370 times by other researchers. 

He also has obtained or is in the process of obtaining eight patents (most while at UL). It is interesting to note that these research endeavors always seem to include colleagues, and often involving young faculty.  His mentoring of other faculty to grow their R&D funding is another facet of his people-oriented career. 

His passion for research and for collaborating with ours is deeply appreciated by our faculty and students. He is unselfish with sharing his knowledge and experiences. 

At UL, he serves on an amazing number of committees at all levels of the campus community ranging from the college peer review committee to the graduate council to the faculty senate to the graduate student retention committee. He unselfishly gives of himself for the betterment of others. 

This article touches on only a few of his accomplishments. His legacy will be everlasting in the College of Engineering, UL Lafayette and the State of Louisiana.

Others honored in the 2020 ceremony were Dr. Salah Massoud as Distinguished Professor Award honoree, Massoud is a professor of chemistry. Lisa Delhomme and Dr. Dianne Olivier as The Dr. Ray P. Authement Excellence in Teaching Award honorees. Delhomme is a master instructor and director of the Health Information Management program in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. Olivier is a professor in the College of Education, and coordinator of the college’s doctoral program in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership. Dr. Geoffrey Stewart as The Leadership in Service Award honoree. Stewart is an associate professor of marketing in the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

For details on all the awards and recipients, please click here.

Congratulations Dr. Zappi!!

Photo credit: University of Louisiana at Lafayette