“The thing that was fun for me was just getting to know all the people,” Petuskey said. “The people I’ve met and worked with over the years have made all the difference. It was a social as well as research environment and intellectual enterprise. At each stage, the people I really wanted to work with were there.”

In 2009, together with engineering Professor James Adams, Petuskey started ASU’s School of Materials, increasing their ranking to No. 22 nationally. After three years, the school was absorbed into the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

From 2012 to 2016, Petuskey served as ASU’s associate vice president for science, engineering and technology when, among many advances, he supported ASU's compact X-ray free electron laser (a world first), which is housed in the Biodesign Institute. It will provide X-ray pulses so short that they outrun all X-ray damage processes. As a result, scientists can conduct novel science to explore the structure and dynamics of nature and materials as never before. 

In 2016, there was a national program for new technologies to develop new materials in half the time for half the cost. Petuskey was appointed as director of the Advanced Materials Initiatives (AMI) in Knowledge Enterprise to help design approaches to scientific problems from a different direction. Starting with a significant problem and working backward to the important scientific ideas.

The Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe headed by Navrotsky and the grant from the NSF's Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes program headed by School of Molecular Sciences Professor Vladimiro Mujica would not be possible without the AMI.

Over his 39 years at ASU, William Petuskey has been a catalyst for growth and development for the School of Molecular Sciences and for the university as a whole.

Jenny Green

Clinical associate professor, School of Molecular Sciences