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Published: October 11, 2017 Author: Sarah Lack

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, the Ohio University community will listen as its newly invested 21st president, Dr. M. Duane Nellis, shares his vision and plans for OHIO’s future in his inaugural address. Another speaker during the ceremony will give the University community some insight into its new president. 

Kamlesh Lulla, Ph.D., Ph.D., is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed NASA chief scientist and an expert in space and geospatial technology who has been a senior leader and executive at NASA for the past 29 years. He has known President Nellis for more than 35 years, calling him both a colleague and friend. 

With a shared academic field of expertise, Dr. Lulla and President Nellis grew to know each other through remote sensing and geoscience conferences, as well as through each other’s research in the field. 

“We were both trying to make contributions to our disciplines,” Dr. Lulla said. “As young assistant professors, we often collaborated on research projects and organized professional workshops, symposia and special sessions at various conferences.” 

As chief scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Dr. Lulla emphasized the contributions President Nellis has made to their field. 

“Dr. Nellis has long been recognized as one of the most prominent scholars in remote sensing, while also integrating remote sensing analysis with geographic information sciences to better understand Earth land systems change,” Dr. Lulla said. “His research has been first rate and he has advanced our knowledge of land use change using satellite remote sensing technologies. His work ethic is impeccable.” 

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Dr. Lulla shared admiration for his colleague as a personal friend. 

“[He is] someone committed passionately to his research and creative activities as well as his collaborations with colleagues, but also his passion and caring attitude toward his students, engaging them in ways that advance the students’ knowledge of our complex world,” Dr. Lulla said. 

Dr. Lulla cited President Nellis’ love of students, passion for learning and commitment to diversity and inclusion as characteristics that will serve him well in his leadership of OHIO. 

“Throughout his career I have found Duane unceasing in his commitment to the value of global understanding and international studies,” Dr. Lulla said. “His supportive attitude, commitment to collegiality among his professional colleagues and selfless service to the community show the kind of leader he is. Dr. Nellis is a visionary leader who believes in inclusion, honesty and integrity.” 

Dr. Lulla, who is currently the director for the university research collaboration and partnership office at NASA Johnson Space Center, will deliver the keynote address at the investiture ceremony of President Nellis which begins at 2 p.m. in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on OHIO’s Athens Campus. More information about the week’s inauguration celebrations, including a link to watch a live stream of the investiture ceremony, is available on the Presidential Inauguration website