Dr. Subra Suresh — Carnegie Mellon University’s New President

Carnegie Mellon University’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dr. Subra Suresh as the university’s ninth president. Succeeding Dr. Jared Cohon, Dr. Suresh takes office on July 1, 2013.

DrsubraSureshBefore taking up this assignment, Dr. Suresh, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, was the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2010. The NSF’s charter is advancing science and engineering research and education.

Before joining NSF, Dr. Suresh was the Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT between 2007 and 2010, where he headed the Department of Materials Science and Engineering between 2000 and 2006. Dr. Suresh started his teaching/research career at Brown University in 1983 as an assistant professor. He became full professor at Brown in 1989.

Dr. Suresh went to Iowa State University in 1979 for his master’s degree. He earned his doctoral degree from MIT in1981. He was also a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

In his career, Dr. Suresh has received innumerable awards from national and international science/technology organizations. He has been elected into ten national science and engineering academies worldwide.

In its press release on his appointment, Carnegie Mellon University announced that “Dr. Suresh has earned a renowned reputation in education and research, garnering numerous awards and honors during his illustrious career as a scholar, educator and public servant.”

Dr. Suresh’s wife, Mary, is the former Director of Public Health for Wellesley, Massachusetts. They have two daughters, Nina and Meera. Nina, an MIT graduate, is currently a medical student at the University of Massachusetts. Meera, a Wesleyan University graduate with a double major in biology and French, is a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

In one interview Suresh recalled something that most of the 45-plus year old readers can relate to: “I could not afford long-distance calls to India as a poor US graduate student.” He has come a very long way from there.

Dr. Suresh Subra is the first India-born professor to lead any of the five schools at MIT, the first India-born scientist to lead NSF, and the first India-born president at CMU.     —  By Kollengode S Venkataraman,  April 2013

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