R. Keith Michel to become the 15th President of Webb Institute

(Glen Cove, NY) — R. Keith Michel, Chairman of the Board of the Herbert Engineering Group of Companies, has been appointed President of Webb Institute, the country’s foremost school of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, effective July 1, 2013. The appointment was made following the recently announced retirement of RADM Robert C. Olsen, Jr. USCG (Ret.), who will have filled this role for eight years.

“Keith was a natural choice for us. His professional business experience will help open doors for our students as well as for fundraising,” stated John Russell, Chair of the Search Committee.

“Keith is highly regarded throughout the marine industry and will be an asset to Webb Institute,” added outgoing President Olsen. “I have worked with Keith for a number of years, as he served both as a Board member and, most recently, as Chairman of the Board, and look forward to a very orderly transition.”

Webb also announced that, effective immediately, Mr. Michel will step down as Chairman of the Board and will be replaced by Dr. George Campbell Jr.  “One of the many challenges to this type of transition is to make sure we maintain strong leadership at the Board level. George Campbell is the right person at the right time for this job,” said Will Jenkins, Chair of the Nominating Committee. “The fact that we were able to bring Keith Michel aboard as President and have George Campbell agree to become the Board Chair says a lot about the strength of Webb.”

Said Mr. Michel, “Much of my success as a naval architect and businessman is attributable to the education I received at Webb Institute. Webb is a truly unique institution of higher learning, where each student receives a full tuition scholarship, an outstanding education in systems engineering, a blend of rigorous academic and hands on work experience, and assurances of a job upon graduation. Higher education is undergoing dynamic change, and I look forward to working with Dr. Campbell and all of Webb’s stakeholders as we seek to further enhance the Webb experience. Webb Institute has thrived under the leadership of President Olsen, and I am excited about this opportunity to build upon his legacy.”

“I'm deeply honored to have the opportunity to chair the Board of Trustees of one of the nation's most selective institutions of higher education,” commented Dr. Campbell. “While Webb is a relatively small college, throughout its 123-year history, its graduates have had an enormous impact on the marine industry, a sector that is critical to America's national security as well as international commerce. I look forward to working with President Olsen, President-elect Michel, and Webb's distinguished Board as we face the important challenges confronting an all-scholarship college with an unwavering commitment to academic excellence.”

About Webb Institute

Webb Institute is a top-ranked undergraduate engineering institution, offering one academic option, a double major in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The school was founded in 1889 by William H. Webb, a preeminent shipbuilder, entrepreneur, and philanthropist of the 19th century. It is located on the grounds of the former Herbert L. Pratt estate, “The Braes,” in Glen Cove, NY, on the Long Island Sound.  All accepted students are awarded four-year full-tuition scholarships.  For more information, visit www.webb-institute.edu <http://www.webb-institute.edu> .

About Keith Michel

Mr. Michel has had a distinguished career in the marine industry.  He has worked for the Herbert Engineering Company (HEC), a preeminent naval architecture firm, for 38 years, and has helped it grow from a three-man firm to the internationally recognized company it is today.  Mr. Michel is currently the Chairman of the Board of HEC’s group of companies, having previously served as President and CEO.  His technical expertise includes risk assessment, marine transportation studies, and the design of a wide variety of commercial ship types.  Mr. Michel served as the Chairman of the International Maritime Organization’s BLG committee tasked with developing regulations concerning the subdivision of tankers, including criteria for the acceptance of alternative designs to double hull tankers.  He is a past Chairman of the Marine Board of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and chaired several other NAS committees.  In 2011 Mr. Michel was awarded the W. Selkirk Owen Award for distinguished service by the Alumni Association of Webb Institute.  He is a past-president of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and currently chairs the editorial board for SNAME’s flagship magazine (mt).  In 2002 he was the recipient of SNAME’s highest award, the David W. Taylor Medal; he is a Fellow and Honorary Member of SNAME, a National Associate of the National Research Council of the NAS, and past Chairman of the Webb Institute Board of Trustees.

About George Campbell Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Campbell, a physicist, served as president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art from July 2000 until his retirement in June 2011, after which he was appointed President Emeritus.  Founded in 1859, Cooper Union is an all honors college ranked among the nation's top baccalaureate colleges by U.S. News and World Report, offering degrees in architecture, engineering and fine arts. As at Webb Institute, all admitted students receive a full-tuition scholarship. Dr. Campbell spent his early career at AT&T’s prestigious Bell Laboratories, where he held various R&D and management positions. He later served as President and CEO of NACME Inc., a non-profit organization focused on engineering and science education and science and technology policy.  Dr. Campbell is a Director of Consolidated Edison, Inc., Barnes and Noble Inc., and the Mitre Corporation. He serves as a Trustee of the United States Naval Academy Foundation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Montefiore Medical Center, and the Institute of International Education.  His public service has included membership on the Morella Commission of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy Board. A former Simon Guggenheim Scholar, Dr. Campbell earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Syracuse University and a B.S. in physics from Drexel University. Among his awards are the George Arents Pioneer Medal in Physics and several honorary doctorates.  Dr. Campbell joined the Board of Trustees of Webb Institute in 2011.

By Professional Mariner Staff