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Lance Collins

Vice President and Executive Director, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus
  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Lance Collins

Lance Collins is the inaugural vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which was announced by the university as part of the state’s successful effort to attract Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia. In this role, he provides strategic direction for the Innovation Campus (see the campus Strategic Plan), helping to build a campus that will impart a lasting influence on the region’s tech ecosystem.

Collins joined Virginia Tech in August 2020 from Cornell University where he served as the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering for 10 years. He was also part of the leadership team that successfully bid to partner with New York City to build Cornell Tech, which opened its Roosevelt Island campus in 2017. As the engineering dean at Cornell, Collins accelerated efforts to diversify the college’s faculty and student body, increasing the proportion of underrepresented minority students from 8 to 19 percent and undergraduate women from 33 to 50 percent.

Collins serves on the board of trustees of the MITRE Corporation, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Science, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Foundation. He is a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation and is a member of the Economic Club of Washington, DC.  He has served on numerous academic advisory boards and visiting committees, including for the University of Michigan, Purdue University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, among others.

Collins is professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech.  His research is focused on the application of direct numerical simulation to a broad range of turbulent processes. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2021 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

  • Turbulence and turbulent flow analysis
  • Direct numerical simulations
  • Turbulent aerosol processes
  • Microphysical models for atmospheric clouds
  • Turbulent mixing and combustion
  • Polymer drag reduction
  • Numerical methods and algorithms
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1987
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1987
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1981
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineering Foundation Board of Trustees (AIChE)
  • Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Advisory Council (MAE Princeton)
  • MITRE Board of Trustees
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering
  • Society for Science Board of Trustees
  • University of Delaware Engineering Advisory Council (UD COE Advisory Council)
  • Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation Board of Directors (VT-ARC)

For Dr. Collins' recent publications, please visit his Google Scholar page.