Professor Kornhauser, one of Princeton's longest-serving Directors of Undergraduate Studies

Sept. 25, 2020

Having concluded an impressive 15 consecutive years as Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in ORFE, Professor Alain Kornhauser *71 continues the tradition this fall. When asked why he’s chosen to remain in this role he replies, “I enjoy it, it’s not work because I like doing it.” He is not the only one who is grateful for his continued dedication to ORFE. Jack Woll, a junior in the ORFE department, stated, “Spending a summer doing research under Professor Kornhauser showed me how he invests in his students and uses his enthusiasm and passion for his work to help people discover the best in themselves.” Prior to the formation of ORFE, Prof. K., as he is known to students, served as the DUS for a number of years in the Department of Civil Engineering and Operations Research (CEOR).

When asked what drew him to this position, Prof. K. credits his undergraduate studies at Penn State University. Although 300 students began their studies toward an aerospace engineering degree the same year as Prof. K., only about 50 graduated with that degree. This profound realization is the force behind why he champions each undergraduate student throughout their three years as an ORFE major. His goal is to create an atmosphere geared toward success; a playing field in which students can prosper and achieve their goal of an ORFE degree.

Peter Bogucki, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, commented: “Alain’s first consideration is, “what is in the student’s best interest?” Alain holds informed and principled views on every aspect of undergraduate life, and he takes special pride in the accomplishments of the ORFE students, not just the genius few at the top of the class but also the students who have succeeded in the face of challenges and occasional frustrations.” Dean Bogucki also emphasized Prof. K’s dedication as an advisor to BSE first year students for decades. “It would have been easy for him to give up first year advising while being the DUS, but he loves doing it and is an anchor of stability and continuity for our program.”

Former ORFE Chair, Professor Rene Carmona cannot imagine the Undergraduate Program without Prof. K. as the DUS. Prof. Carmona says, “Alain loves Princeton, the University, the town, and especially the undergraduate majors in ORFE.”

Seniors are especially high on Prof. K’s list as he helps them navigate the senior thesis process. Professor Carmona describes Professor Kornhauser “as the cheerleader of the senior thesis tradition. He is the guardian of the senior thesis, protecting it from [any] attempt to diminish its impact.” Now, as classes and thesis advising are conducted virtually, Prof. K’s enthusiasm for the DUS position and the goals he helps the ORFE undergraduates achieve, burns brighter than ever.