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Lehigh Engineering Dean Named New Provost

By Mason Spirit contributor on September 15, 2014

George Mason University has chosen S. David Wu, the dean of a prestigious engineering college, to be its next provost and executive vice president. He started his new job on July 1.

S. David Wu

S. David Wu

Wu joins George Mason after a 27-year career at Lehigh University, which included serving as the dean of its P. C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science over the past decade. He brings a wealth of experience that will strengthen Mason and its mission to set the standard for public universities in the 21st century.

During his time at Lehigh, Wu successfully started several multidisciplinary programs, forged strategic partnerships, supported groundbreaking research, and encouraged students to seek global experience as part of their studies.

“Dr. Wu is a leader who understands what it takes to build a great university in today’s competitive marketplace,” says President Ángel Cabrera. “His values and background are a perfect fit for an innovative and inclusive university like Mason with a strategic commitment to growing our research portfolio, facilitating access to a diverse student body, and providing a transformational learning experience to our students.”

Wu says he was impressed with the direction Mason is taking, citing its commitment to research, innovation, global learning, and diversity.

“Mason’s bold, innovative approach is absolutely what we need in higher education right now,” Wu says.

Wu rejuvenated Lehigh’s renowned engineering school by working with the faculty to build 12 multidisciplinary programs, many of which reach beyond engineering.

“All major disciplines of study represent different thinking paradigms,” Wu says. “You’re equipping young people with multiple perspectives of thinking, to take a holistic view in solving the world’s problems.”

Wu says he was attracted to Mason’s strategic goals, including its commitment to delivering 100,000 career-ready graduates over the next decade. Universities have a responsibility to demonstrate that they are a sound investment not only for students, but also for society, Wu says.

At Lehigh, he created new strategic focuses for the Rossin College that are in line with society’s most pressing challenges, including health and health care delivery, energy and infrastructure, and computing and data analytics.

Wu was responsible for annual financial resources of more than $100 million in his role as dean at Lehigh. Over 40 percent of Lehigh’s undergraduates major in engineering; about 65 percent of graduate and research programs also are in engineering. Wu oversees 140 tenured, tenure-track, and instructional faculty, as well as 170 professional and support staff.

Wu earned a PhD in 1987 and an MS degree in 1985, both in industrial engineering, from Pennsylvania State University. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Tunghai University in Taiwan in 1981. He was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Wu will succeed Peter N. Stearns, who has served as Mason’s provost since 2000. Stearns has led the university during a period of significant enrollment gains, increases in academic standards and research growth. He helped Mason transition to a new university president and played an active role in the university’s new vision and strategic plan. A prolific author and renowned historian, Stearns will continue to teach at Mason after stepping down as provost.

“I am thrilled to join the George Mason community and excited about the opportunity to work with President Cabrera and his team,” Wu says. “I admire the great accomplishments by Peter Stearns and am humbled by the big shoes I must now fill.”

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