Harindra Joseph Fernando
Wayne and Diana Murdy Family Professor of Engineering
Around the same time our son was preparing to graduate from Notre Dame, the University was looking to expand its research program in my area of specialization: environmental fluid dynamics. In fact, a day before attending our son’s graduation ceremony, Dean Peter Kilpatrick handed me a letter offering me a job.
The decision to move was not so straightforward. I had been at Arizona State University for 25 years, 17 of which were spent as the director of a state-funded research center of excellence. But our family’s faith in the patroness of Notre Dame, undergirded by the University’s Catholic mission of nurturing the hearts and minds of future generations within a faith-based setting, ultimately convinced us this was the right move.
Since my arrival in 2010, I have been pleased to help expand the environmental fluid dynamics faculty from two to seven and the graduate student cadre to more than 20, growth that has led to a number of new graduate as well as undergraduate course offerings. We have also attracted research faculty and visiting scientists from all over the world, and have garnered research grants amounting to more than $10 million over the past five years.
The tireless work of my environmental fluid dynamics colleagues has transformed Notre Dame into a powerhouse of research in this area. Our group’s interests include surface and subsurface water resources, storm surges and tsunamis, climate change and its impacts, global and regional water cycles, urbanization and livability of cities, and fundamental processes of weather, such as hurricanes, monsoons, planetary waves, and rainfall.
Regardless of topic, our goal is to apply our research to real-world engineering and environmental problems in a variety of fields: navigation, aviation, national security, environmental forecasting, sustainability, disaster management and risk assessment, etc.
All of this would not have been possible without a serious commitment from the Notre Dame administration. And the expansion continues. To be a part of the growth of Our Lady’s University is the best opportunity that I have ever received in my lifetime.