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John Ballato is SmartState Endowed Chair at Clemson University. A professor of materials science and engineering, John served previously as Clemson's vice president for economic development, vice president for research (interim), associate vice president for research and economic development, faculty representative to the board of trustees and center director. He earned a BS in ceramic science and engineering (1993) and the Ph.D. in ceramic and materials engineering (1997) from Rutgers University. John has published 300 archival scientific papers, holds over 25 US and foreign patents, and has given in excess of 150 keynote / invited lectures. Among numerous other honors, he is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), the Optical Society of America (OSA), and the International Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE). More recently, he was the 2014 recipient of the Class of '39 Award for Excellence, which is presented annually to one distinguished member of the Clemson faculty whose outstanding contributions have been judged by his or her peers to represent the highest achievement of service to the University. He also received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Scientific Research (2014), which is bestowed by the Governor of South Carolina, on behalf of its citizen's, and recognizes "an individual within the state whose achievements and contributions to science in South Carolina merit special recognition and to promote wider awareness of the quality and extent of scientific activity in South Carolina." John is a Fellow of the second class of the Liberty Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.