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Dennis Hall

Professor of Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering (Emeritus)
Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School


Dennis G. Hall is Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School, and Professor Emeritus of both Physics and Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt University (VU) in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to January 1, 2015, he served Vanderbilt as Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School for nearly 15 years before stepping down from his administrative roles to focus on research and writing, which he continues since retiring on December 31, 2015.

During his time in Vanderbilt’s central administration, he served concurrently as the chief academic officer of the Graduate School and as the chief  research officer for nonmedical research. He worked jointly with the VU medical center’s chief research officer to oversee university-wide activities and interests. In addition, he oversaw the Vanderbilt University Press, the University Library, served on the Provost’s Budget Allocation Committee and as the permanent member of Vanderbilt’s Promotion and Tenure Review Committee. From 2001-2008, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of Oak Ridge Associated Universities. From September 2004 through December 2014, Prof. Hall served as Vanderbilt’s representative on the Governing
Board that oversees the management of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His occasional essays on a variety of topics have appeared in local and national venues, the most recent, “Albert Einstein: A mind for the ages,” appeared on April 4, 2021, in the Sunday print edition of Nashville’s newspaper, The Tennessean.

Prior to July 1, 2000, he was William F. May Professor and Director (department chair) of The Institute of Optics, an eminent academic department at the University of Rochester (NY). A member of the Rochester faculty from 1980, he served as Director of The Institute of Optics during 1993-2000. He is a Fellow of each of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE). He is a former (elected) member of OSA’s Board of Directors and served as a Topical Editor of the Journal of the Optical Society of America from 1994-1997. Prof. Hall is the recipient of two undergraduate teaching awards at Rochester, is the author or co-author of more than 120 refereed articles and several book chapters, and is the editor of the 1993 reprint volume Coupled-Mode Theory in Guided- Wave Optics (SPIE Press). He has supervised to completion twenty-one Ph.D. dissertations and six M.S. theses. Prof. Hall received a B.S. degree in Physics from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), followed by an M.S. degree in Physics from Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville) and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). His dissertation research in theoretical solid-state physics was carried out at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Professor Hall and Rita, his wife of 51 years, have three children and four grandchildren (ages 14 years, 11 years, 11 years, and 8 years). He is a licensed amateur radio operator (KK4RVW, Amateur Extra Class license).