A professor who directs a large research laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities will be the new dean of Stony Brook University's engineering school, officials announced Thursday.

Fotis Sotiropoulos, 52, was selected after a national search to lead the 5,000-student engineering and applied science college.

In an interview Thursday, he said he is excited about the "enormous potential, the quality of the people and leadership of the senior administration" at Stony Brook.

As dean, he hopes to enhance the collaboration of engineering and liberal arts, encourage student entrepreneurship and expand the engineering school's global reach. He also hopes to grow a program at SBU that encourages women and underrepresented minorities to pursue engineering careers, he said.

"Stony Brook has all the elements to really make a big difference in New York State and solving problems that are relevant to the world," Sotiropoulos said. "To tell you the truth, I really can't wait."

He will succeed Yacov A. Shamash, who will step down after having been engineering dean for nearly two decades. Shamash will focus on his role as vice president for economic development at SBU and as an adviser to State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on STEM education, college officials said.

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Sotiropoulos will start at SBU on Oct. 15.

He is currently the James L. Record professor of civil, environmental and geoengineering, and director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota.

His research focuses on simulation-based engineering science for fluid mechanics to solve problems in renewable energy and cardiovascular disease.

Sotiropoulos holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master's from Pennsylvania State University.

"We have many opportunities to contribute to the national and international call for STEM scholars, innovation and career development," Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement.

Sotiropoulos is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters.

He and his wife, Chrisa Arcan, also a scientist, will move to Long Island. Sotiropoulos' son, Alexander, is a freshman at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.