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Villanova College of Engineering Alumnus Named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow

Craig Fennie, PhD, is the First Villanovan to Receive the Prestigious Grant  

Villanova, Pa - Craig J. Fennie, PhD, a Villanova College of Engineering graduate, has been named a MacArthur “Genius Fellow,” one of 24 exceptionally creative and accomplished individuals from across the country to receive the prestigious honor. The MacArthur Foundation, the organization that conferred the award, supports creative persons and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.

Dr. Fennie, an assistant professor at Cornell University College of Engineering’s Department of Applied and Engineering Physics, received both his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Villanova in 1993 and 1996 respectively.  He holds a PhD from Rutgers University and is the first Villanova graduate to be distinguished as a MacArthur Fellow.

“Having guided and encouraged Craig early in his career, I am truly proud of his accomplishments,” says Pritpal Singh, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Villanova’s College of Engineering.

 “I can’t thank Dr. Singh enough for his support, guidance, and (most of all) patience during the most critical and difficult stage of my life,” said Dr. Fennie.

Dr. Fennie is a computational and theoretical materials physicist who combines the tools of theoretical physics with those of solid-state chemistry to discover new materials with desirable electrical, magnetic, and optical properties.  One potential outcome of his current research is the possibility of electronic digital data storage rather than magnetic digital data storage.  

Nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields, MacArthur Fellows receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, which provides maximum freedom for recipients to follow their own creative vision. Recipients of the award represent a spectrum of extraordinarily talented individuals, from choreographers, photographers, composers and writers, to historians, scientists, economists and medical experts.

To read more about Dr. Craig Fennie and the other 2013 MacArthur Fellows, visit

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.