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2018 Icon: Michael Gustafson

Michael Gustafson, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is an icon in the Pratt School of Engineering. 

Gustafson first came to Duke as an undergraduate, earning his bachelor of science in engineering in 1993. He stayed in Durham for his M.S. (’98) and Ph.D. (‘99). But even after earning three degrees from Duke, he couldn’t get away. Gustafson planted his roots in Durham and received his first appointment as a Duke faculty member in 2005. 

As an associate professor of the practice, one of his primary interests is undergraduate course development. The navy veteran is well-known among Pratt students for his passion for teaching first-years in Computational Methods in Engineering, and he’s taught more than 5,000 students during his time at Duke.

In addition to his pedagogical presence on campus, Gustafson—affectionately called Dr. G—is also well-known by students in online meme groups. He’s been the subject of a handful of memes on the Duke Memes for Gothicc Teens page, and even contributed a few of his own. A t-shirt bearing a graphic of his face and the caption “started from the bottom floor of Teer” has also become popular in Pratt. 

The professor is popular for his commitment to his students, which was recognized by the University when he was given the the McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising in 2005.

Editor's Note: This profile is part of our new initiative called The Chronicle 18. We are highlighting 18 people and groups who are defining what it means to be at Duke this year. Read about the project and more of our selections.


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