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Nancy Love appointed Distinguished University Professor

Professor Love was appointed JoAnn Silverstein Distinguished University Professor of Environmental Engineering, effective September 1, 2021.

Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor Nancy G. Love has been appointed JoAnn Silverstein Distinguished University Professor of Environmental Engineering. The Board of Regents approved this on July 15, 2021, and the appointment will be effective September 1, 2021. 

A Distinguished University Professorship is awarded to University of Michigan senior faculty who consistently demonstrate exceptional scholarly or creative achievements, national and international reputations for academic excellence, breadth of interest and engagement in interdisciplinary efforts of public involvement and superior records of teaching, mentoring and service.

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Engineering professor Nancy Love takes notes during the EMPACE Symposium at the Horn of Africa, Regional Environment Centre and Network building in Addis Ababa. Photo by Marcin Szczepanski/ Senior Multimedia Producer, University of Michigan, College of Engineering.

Love is recognized for her accomplishments in teaching, service and research at the intersection of water, public health and infrastructure. Love and her research group use chemical, biological and analytical approaches to evaluate the fate of chemicals and pathogens in water and remove harmful contaminants and recover resources from water, with the aim of advancing public and environmental health. 

Love’s teaching covers classes on the science and design of water process engineering systems, including both large-scale centralized systems and building-scale systems. She has established partnerships both globally in Ethiopia and domestically in Vermont and Michigan where she is focused on developing materials for training students and community users of water and sanitation systems.  

She was named the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Gordon Maskew Fair Distinguished Engineering Educator of 2011, the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) Distinguished Lecturer of 2015 and the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) Kappe Lecturer of 2019-2020.

Professor Love has held leadership positions in various organizations and has been widely recognized for her contributions to the field of environmental engineering. 

She is past president of the AEESP, was elected AEESP Fellow in 2015, received the AAEES Science Award in 2020 and the AEESP Frederick George Pohland Medal in 2021.

Locally, some of Love’s recent collaborations outside of the classroom include co-developing a train-the-trainers program with residents of Flint, MI around point-of-use water filters, and the “Pee on the Peonies” project at the Nichols Arboretum. 

Love’s new title honors Dr. JoAnn Silverstein, who was one of the first women to earn a PhD in Environmental Engineering and the first female engineering professor to join the AEESP. Silverstein is a pioneer in developing biological processes for treating wastewater and drinking water, and is a leader in developing technologies that manage nitrogen found in water from various sources, including from urban water systems to contaminated Superfund sites.

Speaking on her decision to name her Professorship after Silverstein, Love explained: “I am humbled by the opportunity to highlight an extraordinary woman in the field with this Distinguished University Professorship. I believe that Dr. Silverstein deserves recognition for the outstanding work that she’s done. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the quality of her work, her intellectual curiosity, her dedication to the advancement of others, and her ability to stay the course over the long haul.” 

Distinguished University Professor awards are typically presented at a ceremony during the fall term, and all newly appointed Distinguished University Professors are invited to give an inaugural lecture early in their appointment.


Portrait of Mason Hinawi
Mason Hinawi

Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering