Mitch Thornton Appointed Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering at SMU

Professor Mitch Thornton
Professor Mitch Thornton
DALLAS (SMU) – Mitch Thornton has been appointed the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering at SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering in recognition of his achievements as a researcher, educator, author, and dedicated leader. He is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and serves as the Technical Director for the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security.

Thornton, renowned for his work in and outside the classroom, has been honored by his peers and the University with many awards including the Senior Ford Research Fellowship, the HOPE Professor Award, the Inventor Recognition Award from the Semiconductor Research Consortium, a Citation of Honor from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award for Computer Science, and Outstanding Professor of the Year Award from the Student Engineering Joint Council.
“Mitch is unquestionably one of this country’s leaders in modern computer architecture design, including forward-looking research in cyber security and quantum computing. He is a highly productive and prized educator, an outstanding academic citizen, and a leader who contributes greatly to the Lyle School,” said Lyle Dean Marc P. Christensen.

Thornton joined SMU in 2002 with experience in both academia and industry, previously holding positions at Mississippi State University, the University of Arkansas, Cyrix Corporation, and E-Systems, Inc. He has an outstanding publication record, has secured over $4.1M in research and grant funding since 1996, holds three U.S. patents, and has two patents pending.

Thornton’s research is interdisciplinary and he collaborates with colleagues across the University as well as with those in industry, and many at other institutions. He has consulted with and performed sponsored research for the National Security Agency, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Laboratories, National Science Foundation, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics, Lockheed-Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Acxiom Corporation, Silicon Space Technology, Revere Security, PayGo, and Eclipse Electronics. His research interests range from EDA/CAD methods and algorithms for quantum, classical digital systems, and large systems design including synthesis, verification, asynchronous, security, and disaster and fault tolerant circuit techniques, to emphasis on modeling and method development for physical security design/verification and the mathematical basis of conventional, asynchronous, reversible, and quantum logic. Practice areas include embedded systems and ASIC/FPGA design and implementation.

Thornton earned a B.S in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an M.S in computer science and a Ph.D. in computer engineering – both from SMU.


Cecil and Ida Green provided endowments for two faculty chairs in what is now the Lyle School of Engineering, both of which multiplied over time to provide funds for an additional professorship. Their gift of approximately $1.5 million in 1979 established the Cecil and Ida Green Chair currently held by W. Milton Gosney, and grew over time to provide funding for the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering held by Dinesh Rajan. Their gift of $891,558 in 1969 endowed the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering which was awarded to Mitch Thornton and previously held by Stephen Szygenda. This endowment also supports Sila Cetinkaya as the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering.

The couple’s gift of approximately $500,000 in 1979 also endowed the Cecil and Ida Green Fund for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science Education to strengthen and enrich programs in the school.

Ida Green ’46 was a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, and was honored by the University in 1977 as a distinguished alumna. She died in 1986. Cecil Green, a British-born, naturalized American geophysicist and alumnus of MIT, was one of the four co-founders of Texas Instruments. He was made an honorary alumnus of SMU in 1962 and received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University in 1967. Cecil Green died in 2003 at the age of 102.