CS&E Alumni Ron Vetter Named Founding Dean of College of Science and Engineering at UNCW

Department of Computer Science & Engineering alumni Ron Vetter (Ph.D., 1992) was named the founding dean of the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). Vetter is a professor of computer science at UNCW and also served as the associate provost for research and dean of the graduate school from 2013-2018. UNCW announced the founding of two new colleges in April, including CSE.

Vetter completed his Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Minnesota in 1992 with a focus on computer networks. He was advised by professor David Hung-Chang Du

“Ron grew up in a farm family in North Dakota,” said Du. “He used to have to wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. to do his assigned chores because the whole family is responsible for keeping the farm going. I think that prepared him well for this new role in many ways. He is used to working with people and is a good team player.” 

Dr. Vetter has worked on numerous projects at UNCW and in the Wilmington community, including serving as co-principal investigator on a Collaborative Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program (CCAP) grant between UNCW and Cape Fear Community College, and as a co-principal investigator for the National Drug Court Resource Center with the U.S. Department of Justice. He is the 2023 recipient of the Richard E. Merwin Award for Distinguished Service, the highest-level volunteer service award from the IEEE Computer Society. He is also a member of UNCW’s Million Dollar Club for earning more than $5 million in external grant funding. 

"It is great to see the success of one of our alumni,” said CS&E Department Head Mats Heimdahl. “I wish Ron all the best in building the new College of Science and Engineering at UNCW."

“He really grew into a very strong leader,” said Du. “I am excited to see him take over this job. He is definitely qualified and I know he will make good contributions to the University.” 

Vetter will lead in his capacity as founding dean as the university transitions into an expansion of its academic core with a five-college structure. He will lead the CSE community in achieving UNCW’s goals of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service. Vetter assumed his new role on July 1, 2023.

Read the full UNCW press release