Anthony Atchley retires after more than 25 years of impact at Penn State

June 28, 2023

By Andrew Krebs 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. After more than 25 years as a leader in the Penn State College of Engineering, including the past year as acting and then interim dean, Anthony Atchley will retire as professor emeritus of acoustics on June 30. 

“For more than 127 years, engineering education and research have been critically important to the University’s land-grant mission,” Atchley said. “To be a small part of that history — with the privilege of working alongside so many talented, passionate and dedicated faculty and staff — has been an extraordinary honor.” 

Renowned acoustics expert 

Before joining the College of Engineering in 1997 to lead the Graduate Program in Acoustics, Atchley was professor and chair of the Department of Physics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. 

A fellow and past president of the Acoustical Society of America, Atchley is an often-cited expert who has conducted discipline-spanning research, according to Andrew Barnard, current director of the Graduate Program in Acoustics. 

Dr. Atchley’s work, covering topics in non-linear acoustics, bubble cavitation, thermoacoustics, sonoluminescence, outdoor sound propagation, jet noise and more, is foundational to the acoustics community,” Barnard said. “His service to the discipline has been steadfast, and his decades of contributions to Penn State and the College of Engineering reflect in the quality of instruction, research, faculty, staff and students within the college. 

Dedicated Penn State leader 

Atchley, who was named the college’s associate dean for administration and planning in 2008, was appointed senior associate dean in 2014. Most recently in that role, he spearheaded development of the college’s strategic plan, as well as new promotion and tenure guidelines for faculty.  

In service to the University, Atchley also co-chaired two subcommittees in response to COVID-19, the Faculty Issues Subcommittee of the Academic Oversight Team and the COVID Equity Subcommittee for the Faculty Affairs Advisory Council. 

In August 2022, when Justin Schwartz, then the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, was named interim executive vice president and provost for Penn State, Atchley was appointed acting dean of engineering. In April, Schwartz was named to the University-level position permanently and Atchley’s title shifted to interim Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. 

“Anthony has served as a source of institutional knowledge, administrative expertise and friendship since I joined Penn State in 2017,” Schwartz said. “We worked together closely for five years, and when I transitioned to my new role, I knew the college would be in more-than-capable hands. He has dedicated the bulk of his career to Penn State, and we wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement. I simply cannot overstate my appreciation for Anthony as a trusted partner.”  

Following Atchley’s retirement, Tonya Peeples will assume the role of interim Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. A national search is currently underway for the college’s next permanent dean. 

I am eager to track the continued excellence of the College of Engineering in the years ahead,” Atchley said. “So many answers to the challenges of society will depend on engineering-driven solutions, and I am confident in the collective power of Penn State engineers to lead the way.” 


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College of Engineering Media Relations

“So many answers to the challenges of society will depend on engineering-driven solutions, and I am confident in the collective power of Penn State engineers to lead the way.” —Anthony Atchley