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Dr. Alan Scaroni, professor emeritus, energy and mineral engineering in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, retired in February of this year after thirty years of teaching at Penn State. Most recently, Scaroni served as the associate dean for graduate education and research in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, where he oversaw graduate activities for five academic departments and three research institutes.
Prior to his position as associate dean, Scaroni served as the department head for the Department of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering, now the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, from 1998 through 2003. The two years before, he was chair of the Fuel Science program in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. At that time, Fuel Science was one of four programs in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
In 1992 Scaroni became director of the Energy & Fuels Research Center, which was the base for the EMS Energy Institute – formally established in 1996. He led the Institute through June 1998 at which time he was appointed head of the new Department of Energy and Geo-environmental Engineering from the merger of Fuel Science program with the Department of Mineral Engineering. He returned as interim director of EMS Energy Institute for one year from June 2006 to May 2007. Under Scaroni’s direction, the Institute supported over 130 faculty, staff, and students. It grew to encompass five distinctive research units: the Carbon Research Center, the Coal and Organic Petrology Laboratories, the Coal Utilization Center, the Combustion Laboratory, and the Laboratory for Hydrocarbon Process Chemistry, as well as an annual budget of $4 million.
Scaroni received a doctorate degree in fuel science from Penn State in 1981 and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Before starting an advanced degree program at Penn State, Scaroni worked in several positions for CSR Ltd. in Sydney, Australia, including quality control analyst, supervisor of computer operations, and environmental engineer. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor of fuel science at Penn State in September 1981, was promoted to associate professor in 1986 and to full professor in 1992.
Scaroni’s research interests focus on energy conversion, fuels utilization, and emissions control. He has published over 75 articles in books and refereed journals and has received many awards for his contributions, including the 2004 Wilson Award for Outstanding Service from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He has advised 16 doctoral and 15 master’s students in fuel science, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. Among his major research programs, Dr. Scaroni was responsible for establishing Penn State as the National Center of Excellence for Coal Utilization in 1992. He also served the profession in many leadership positions, including program co-chair and chair of the Advisory Board for International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, and treasurer and chair of the American Chemical Society Fuel Chemistry Division.
“Dr. Scaroni has made major contributions to the EMS Energy Institute, the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, the College of EMS and Penn State as a whole,” said Dr. Chunshan Song, current Director of EMS Energy Institute and Distinguished Professor of Fuel Science and Chemical Engineering. “I have learned a great deal from Dr. Scaroni, particularly from his strategic thinking and planning skills, by working with him in research and education at Penn State and in serving the profession, including the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference and the American Chemical Society Fuel Chemistry Division. We will continue to benefit from his advice and we wish Dr. Scaroni all the best in his life after retirement from Penn State.”