Retiring professors’ tenures total over eight decades of service

Two long-time UMSI faculty members retired from the university on May 31 following several decades of service: a former dean of the school and an entrepreneurial pioneer.

Professor Daniel E. Atkins III joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science after receiving his doctorate in computer science from the University of Illinois in 1970. In 1981 he was appointed associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering. He served as interim dean of the college from 1989-1991. In 1992, he was appointed dean of the School of Information and Library Science and oversaw the school’s transition, over the next several years, into the School of Information, one of the first modern iSchools in the world.

Following his deanship, which ended in 1998, he chaired the National Academies Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel Commission which helped to shape initiatives in cyberinfrastructure-enabled science and engineering research. He then served as the inaugural director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure for the National Science Foundation (2006-2008).

He returned to the university as the Associate Vice President for Research Cyberinfrastructure (2006-2008), supporting access to leading-edge cyberinfrastructure environments. He was also appointed the first W.K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information, a post he held until his retirement.

Among his other directorships, he served as project director of the Space Physics and Aeronomy Collaboratory (1998-2001) and the University of Michigan Digital Library Research Project (1992-1997), which helped position the university to take on the large-scale provisioning of digital library resources such as the Google Books Library Project.

An elected member of the National Academy for Engineering, Atkins has received numerous other honors including two University of Michigan Distinguished Service awards, plus awards from the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian and the University of Illinois.

“Without Dan Atkins, we might well not be here,” said Dean Jeff MacKie-Mason. “UMSI would not look anything like what it does and surely, we would not be anywhere near as successful.”

Associate professor Victor Rosenberg came to the University of Michigan in 1977. Previously, he had been an assistant professor of library science at the University of California at Berkeley and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1970.

At the School of Information, his courses included Technology for Information Management, Entrepreneurship in the Information Industry, Computer Programming, Information Policy and Computers in the Humanities.

In 1998, he spent a year as a Computer Research Association Fellow at the US Department of Commerce, assisting in the development of eCommerce policies.

Early in his career at Michigan, he displayed a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. He pioneered the teaching of entrepreneurship at the school and received permission from the university to market bibliographic producing software he had developed in his research, which led to the founding of his company, Personal Bibliographic Software, in 1980.

Maintaining his appointment half-time at the university, Rosenberg ran his company as CEO until 1996, when he sold it to ISI, a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters. The product was merged into the core technology of EndNote, which remains the world’s top-selling personal bibliographic product.

Returning to full-time faculty status following the sale of his company, Rosenberg continued to be a staunch advocate for the creation of an entrepreneurship curriculum at UMSI. “Victor deserves a lot of credit for pushing us in that direction,” said Dean Jeff MacKie-Mason, noting that today the school has a dedicated director of entrepreneurship position, classes in entrepreneurship, and entrepreneur-focused field trips and student competitions. Rosenberg also secured funds from Google to sponsor a multi-year monthly guest speaker lecture series on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Rosenberg plans to continue his engagement with the school following retirement, including serving as a mentor for the iCorps program, an NSF-funded initiative to move ideas from research to development; mentoring students in the UMSI entrepreneurship program; and participating as a member of the Office of the Vice President for Research’s conflict of interest committee.

Both professors will be honored with the title of Emeritus.

Posted June 2, 2015