Michael Kessler, department head and professor of materials science, was appointed as the Louis M. Sardella Head in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

This endowed headship was established in 2021 through the generosity of the estate of Louis (Lou) M. Sardella. A Baltimore native, Lou graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics in 1969. He was a longtime supporter of the university and the Whiting School, establishing multiple undergraduate scholarships and faculty awards. He served on the Whiting School advisory board from 2005 to 2008. Lou died in February 2020.

Michael’s research interests include the development of multifunctional materials, polymer matrix composites for extreme environments, bio-renewable polymers and composites, and the evaluation of these materials using experimental mechanics and thermal analysis. He joined Johns Hopkins University in 2023 from the College of Engineering at North Dakota State University where he served as the dean. Before that, he was the Berry Family Director and Professor of the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University and the Wilkinson Professor in Interdisciplinary Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University.