Rocca Named Colorado State University Distinguished Professor

Rocca Head Shot

Dr. Jorge Rocca, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Colorado State University, was honored by President Larry Edward Penley as a University Distinguished Professor - the highest recognition awarded for outstanding accomplishments in research and scholarship - at the annual "Celebrate Colorado State" luncheon in April. Rocca was one of four CSU professors to receive the award. Together, the honorees have taught students for nearly 100 years, published and presented hundreds of papers, and received tens of millions of dollars in research grants.

"These fine individuals join a very small, prestigious group of University Distinguished Professors because of outstanding accomplishments in their respective fields," Penley said. "The quality of our research and teaching is driven by the talent of our faculty. They ensure that we contribute to the development of new and useful knowledge - in keeping with our mission - but also expand recognition of Colorado State. We congratulate them on their achievements."

After receiving the award from President Penley, Rocca shared his acceptance remarks with the luncheon attendees. In addition to thanking his wife, ECE Professor Carmen Menoni, Rocca acknowledged the contributions of his students and researchers by asking them to stand and be recognized by the audience. Rocca said his success would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of these bright individuals.

Each University Distinguished Professor receives a special medallion and a permanent base salary increase. A maximum of 12 current faculty members at the University may hold the rank of University Distinguished Professor, which is a permanent designation that carries into retirement. To obtain the rank, faculty members are nominated through an extensive review process and must be approved by the current University Distinguished Professors. Penley approved the selections and secured endorsement from the University's governing board.

Dr. Rocca is a world leader in the development of compact X-ray lasers and their applications. He serves as director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology, which is based at Colorado State but is a collaborative effort with the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California at Berkeley. New laser technologies developed out of the center impact numerous applications such as the development of the next generation of integrated circuits, nanofabrication, high-resolution imaging, spectroscopy and the diagnostics of dense plasmas. The NSF originally awarded the five-year, $17 million EUV Engineering Research Center (ERC) in October 2003; in April, NSF renewed it for an additional $12 million until 2011.

Rocca, who obtained his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Colorado State in 1983, is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He has published his seminal work on EUV and soft x-ray laser research in more than 160 peer reviewed journal papers that have accumulated over 2,200 citations in the scientific literature (source: ISIS Web of Science), including individual papers that constitute major milestones in the field with more than 260 citations. He also has authored or co-authored nearly 300 conference proceedings and conference presentations, including nearly 100 invited presentations and plenary talks at international conferences. These innovative scientific contributions also have merited the attention of the most prestigious scientific publications, such as Science, Physics Today, Physics World (UK), Laser Focus (US), Parity (Japan), and Physikalische Blatter (Germany).

"Distinguished University Professors have received national and international competitive awards, prizes and honors for their scholarly research while providing invaluable learning experiences for students," said Tony Frank, senior vice president and provost, who is the highest ranking academic officer at Colorado State. "They are preparing a workforce that will tackle - and hopefully someday solve - some of the greatest global challenges of our time."