July 02, 2024

Boon Thau Loo: Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives 

Penn Engineering Online is thrilled to share that one of the organization’s key leaders and trusted advisors, Professor Boon Thau Loo, will be continuing on in a new role as Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives. Loo has supported the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for nearly seven years as Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Associate Dean for Master’s and Professional Programs.

Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, shared the announcement and expressed gratitude for Loo’s extensive commitment to the mission of Penn Engineering. “Thanks to Boon’s leadership, our doctoral and master’s programs have grown, along with the School’s increased commitment to financial aid. In his new role, he will be leading our expansion into non-degree programs, will be working closely with Penn Global to expand our international engagement, and will oversee the School’s investments in Engineering Entrepreneurship,” shared Kumar.

In his new role as Senior Associate Dean, Loo will manage a community of nearly 5,000 students as he oversees academic and admissions operations for all of Penn Engineering’s doctoral programs and on-campus and online master’s programs across six departments. He will also lead various professional programs including boot camps, graduate certificates, and lifelong learning initiatives and will oversee the professional development of students on all levels.

Professor Loo has played an integral role in Penn Engineering’s growth and development in many capacities since 2007, embodying the innovative spirit that drives the school’s commitment to improving lives and transforming our world. His impact has been felt across the many initiatives he has shaped during his time with the organization. The team at Penn Engineering Online recognizes his leadership and contributions in pioneering the school’s three online graduate degree programs:

MCIT Online: Online Master of Computer and Information Technology
The first Ivy League online master’s degree program in computer science for non-computer science majors

MSE-DS Online: Online Master of Science in Engineering in Data Science

MSE-AI Online: Online Master of Science in Engineering in Artificial Intelligence
The first Ivy League master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence

Professor Loo has also been instrumental in leading and launching a wide variety of efforts for the larger School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, including the accelerated master’s program, the Dean’s Bridge-to-Ph.D. Master’s Fellowship, the Dean’s Doctoral Scholarship, the Dean’s Master’s Scholarship, the annual graduate student awards, Lifelong Learning offerings for Penn Engineering alumni, a school-wide professional development course for master’s students, and a semester-long academic field study program for master’s students.

Supplementing his role as Senior Associate Dean, Loo also leads the NetDB@Penn research group and directs the Distributed Systems Laboratory.

In addition to these many accomplishments, Professor Loo is a beloved professor whose expertise and enthusiasm have made him a favorite among Penn Engineering students. As RCA Professor in the Computer and Information Science department, with a secondary appointment in Electrical and Systems Engineering, he teaches both undergraduate and graduate-level courses in undergraduate senior design, networking, distributed systems, and operating systems. He has mentored 16 Ph.D. students, and three postdocs, five of whom have won dissertation awards. 

Loo with graduate students from the Dean’s Doctoral Board, Dean’s Doctoral Diversity Board, and the Engineering Master’s Advisory Board, Spring 2024
Loo with the Penn Engineering Online Board of Directors at the Five Year Anniversary Celebration, Spring 2024

His commitment to his students is not constrained to the classroom, as he teaches both on-campus and online. But he also demonstrates a passion for traveling both near and far to connect with international students around the world. This is especially appreciated by Penn Engineering Online master’s students, who enroll in Penn’s renowned Ivy League engineering degrees from many locations where they live and work around the globe. In recent years, Professor Loo has dedicated time to hosting meals, networking sessions and informal social gatherings to connect with Penn Engineering Online students in many cities around the world.

Jimmy Li, who graduated from the MCIT Online degree program in 2023, attested to Professor Loo’s dedication.  “He is very devoted to students and supporting them to succeed; but also he is really humble. During my interactions with him, I found that he is always willing to answer questions and willing to help … I speak for a lot of students when I say he is truly inspiring.”

Loo at the Penn Engineering Online Graduation Reception, 2023
Loo with Penn Engineering Online students at Fall Fest 2022
Loo with Penn Engineering students in Singapore, 2023
Loo with Penn Engineering Online students in San Francisco, 2023

Professor Loo expressed appreciation for the new Senior Associate Dean opportunity and excitement about  what lies ahead for Penn Engineering. “I am thankful for the support and encouragement from my colleagues and mentors over the past 6.5 years as Associate Dean, as well as the incredible staff I have had the pleasure of working with … I look forward to collaborating with faculty, staff, students, and alumni to continue driving innovation and excellence at our engineering school”.

The Penn Engineering community is fortunate to have the continued support, talents and innovative expertise of Professor Loo and congratulates him as he embarks on this new chapter as Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives.