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Sandra Woods Receives 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award

Sandra L. Woods, has served as dean of engineering at Colorado State University (CSU) since 2006, and was interim dean for one year prior to that. During her tenure as dean, CSU's College of Engineering research expenditures increased from $50.1 million in FY '06 to $63.9 million in FY '11. The number of Ph.D. graduates rose 48 percent since the 2005/06 academic year. The college has secured $66 million to construct a new 122,000-square-foot engineering building, and will also break ground on an $18 million addition to their Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory this year. In addition, annual gifts to the college have increased from $5.5 million in FY '06 to more than $25 million in FY '11. FY '12 gifts exceed $50 million..

As a result of her work as dean, she received the General Palmer Award from the Colorado Section of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) in 2010 in recognition of "outstanding contributions to engineering in the state of Colorado."

After obtaining her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from MSU in 1976, Sandra worked for Johnson and Anderson, Inc., in Pontiac, Michigan; at Giffels Associates, Inc., in Southfield, Michigan; and at Olympic Associates, Inc., in Seattle, Washington. She earned her master's (1980) and doctorate (1985) degrees in civil engineering from the University of Washington.

An environmental engineering, she specializes in the bioremediation and biotransformation of environmental contaminants. She was awarded an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1985 for her work related to the biotransformation of chlorinated phenolic compounds in anaerobic environments.

Over the years, Sandra has taught a variety of courses at Colorado State and Oregon State Universities and in 1998 was awarded the College of Engineering Loyd Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching by Oregon State University.

She has hald numerous administrative positions. She served as interim dean of Distance and Continuing Education at Oregon State University, as head of CSU's Department of Civil Engineering, and as interim vice provost for special projects and interim vice provost for faculty affairs at CSU. She has led CSU's Graduate School, Office of International Programs, and Division of Distance and Continuing Education. In addition, she has served on a number of committees and advisory boards at university, college, and departmental levels.

Sandra and her husband, Richard Williams, reside in Fort Collins, Colorado. They have two sons, Eric and Ross Williams. Eric is a junior at Colorado State University, majoring in health promotion, and Ross is a sophomore at Bradley University, majoring in history and teacher education.


Recipients of this award, first presented in 2003, must be: graduates of the department; national leaders in their profession; contributors to the department, the college, or the university in some meaningful way; and community leaders whose actions reflect favorably on Michigan State University. Nominations are made by faculty, alumni, and other supporters of the department. The department's professional advisory board selects the winner.

Phone: (517) 355-5107 Fax: (517) 432-1827 E-mail: cee@egr.msu.edu
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michigan State University
Engineering Building
428 S. Shaw Lane, Room 3546
East Lansing, MI 48824