Deborah Chung and Venu Govindaraju to receive UB President’s Medal

UB Presidents Medal.

The UB President's Medal recognizes extraordinary service to the university.

Published April 11, 2024

Deborah Duen Ling Chung, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Venu Govindaraju, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and vice president for research and economic development, are two of this year’s recipients of the UB President’s Medal in recognition of extraordinary service to the university.


The UB President’s Medal, first presented in 1990, recognizes “outstanding scholarly or artistic achievements, humanitarian acts, contributions of time or treasure, exemplary leadership or any other major contribution to the development of the University at Buffalo and the quality of life in the UB community.”

The President’s Medal will be presented to Chung and Govindaraju during commencement ceremonies for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Govindaraju will receive the medal at the graduate commencement at 9 a.m. May 18 and Chung will receive the award later that day at the undergraduate ceremony set for 5 p.m.

Deborah Chung.

A prolific scholar with over 600 peer-reviewed journal publications, Chung specializes in materials science and engineering, particularly smart materials, multifunctional structural materials, concrete, thermal management, battery electrode materials, carbon fibers and nanofibers, composite materials and their interfaces, electronic packaging materials, electromagnetic interference shielding materials, and vibration damping materials.

She was named a fellow last year of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest scholarly societies in the United States.

A UB faculty member since 1986, Chung is the recipient of numerous other honors, including the Charles E. Pettinos Award from the American Carbon Society, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, the SUNY Outstanding Inventor Award, an honorary doctorate from the University of Alicante and the Hsun Lee Award, jointly awarded by Institute of Metal Research (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science.

According to the 2022 ranking from Stanford University that examined 315,721 researchers (living and deceased) in the field of materials research, Chung is ranked No. 13 overall, No. 10 among those who are living and No. 1 among females.

Chung is a dedicated teacher, having mentored nearly 40 PhD graduates and received the Teacher of the Year award from the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. The books that she has authored include “Functional Materials,” “Carbon Materials” and “Composite Materials.” Due to her interest in inspiring young people to pursue science careers, she is the editor of the book series “The Road to Scientific Success: Inspiring Life Stories of Prominent Researchers.”

Chung is a fellow of The American Carbon Society and of ASM (the former American Society for Metals) International. She is also an affiliate faculty member with UB’s RENEW Institute, a university-wide, multidisciplinary research institute that focuses on complex energy and environmental issues, as well as the social and economic issues with which they are connected.

Chung received her PhD in materials science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her master’s degree in engineering science and bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied science from the California Institute of Technology. 

Venu Govindaraju.

Govindaraju established UB’s Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, and the National AI Institute for Exceptional Education, and is founding director of the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors at UB.

An internationally known authority in artificial intelligence (AI), Govindaraju is credited with major conceptual and practical advances, with six books, six patents and close to 500 refereed publications.

He has received numerous peer honors and is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) (2015), Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) (2013), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2010), Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) (2009), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (2006), and the International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR) (2004). He received the Outstanding Achievements Award from the International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition (IAPR/ICDAR) in 2015 and the IEEE Technical Achievement Award in 2010.

Govindaraju’s seminal work in handwriting recognition was at the core of the first handwritten address interpretation system used by the U.S. Postal Service. He has active and continuous grant awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Throughout his 25-year career, he has secured more than $95 million in sponsored funding from various federal and state agencies, as well as industry, including the recent $20 million grant from the NSF and the Institute of Education Sciences to establish the National AI Institute for Exceptional Education at UB.

Govindaraju earned his PhD and master’s in computer science from UB and his bachelor’s degree with honors from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, from which he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2014.

In a teaching career spanning more than two decades, he has graduated 44 doctoral students and 17 master’s students as their primary thesis adviser. Govindaraju also received the Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award from UB in 2016.