Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, will deliver the commencement address during the Graduate School’s Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday (May 28) at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Bernhard, who has announced plans to retire in the near future, has served as vice president for research since 2007. Under his leadership, Notre Dame has become one of the fastest-growing research institutions in the nation, with research award funding for fiscal year 2021 topping $222 million.
Bernhard, who is responsible for research infrastructure and support programs for all disciplines of research, scholarship and creative endeavor, has directed the research of more than 50 graduate students and co-authored more than 170 papers and conference publications. He holds two patents and is a leading expert in noise control engineering.
Before joining Notre Dame, Bernhard served as associate vice president for research at Purdue University. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and completed his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland. He returned to Iowa State to complete his doctorate in engineering mechanics.
The Graduate School Class of 2020 featured 238 doctoral degree recipients and 590 master’s degree recipients.
“I am so pleased that Bob will address our 2020 graduates,” said Laura Carlson, professor of psychology and vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “Through all of our years working together, and especially throughout the pandemic, I have witnessed his never-ending commitment to our graduate students. And as someone embarking on his own transition, he is the perfect speaker to address this extraordinary class — a class that has had to navigate their own transition from graduate school with perseverance,resilience and grace.”
Notre Dame closed campus and moved to remote learning in March 2020 because of the pandemic, suspending traditional campus activities, including 2020 commencement events, well into the summer.
The Class of 2020 Commencement Celebration is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate alumni from the class of 2020 to return to campus and participate in traditional commencement activities, including commencement Mass and ceremonies, college/school ceremonies or celebrations and a variety of social events, over Memorial Day weekend, May 27-30.
For more information, visit commencement.nd.edu.