Carnegie Mellon University

Biography

Farnam Jahanian

President
Henry L. Hillman President's Chair

Farnam Jahanian was appointed the tenth president of Carnegie Mellon University by its Board of Trustees in March 2018. He was previously the university's provost and later served as interim president from July 2017 to February 2018.

A nationally recognized computer scientist, entrepreneur, public servant and higher education leader, Jahanian brings extensive leadership and administrative expertise to Carnegie Mellon, and has advanced a number of key priorities at the university and in higher education more broadly. He is leading important conversations and initiatives aimed at helping higher education adapt to the future of work in the age of automation and artificial intelligence, and elevating the role of universities in expanding the footprint of U.S. innovation. During his tenure at CMU, the university has also undergone the largest expansion of campus infrastructure in its history, including significant renovation of education and learning spaces, a re-envisioning of the residential experience, and a new, state-of-the-art maker ecosystem. He has spearheaded efforts to enhance the overall CMU experience for students, with a focus on student success, holistic health and wellbeing, and support for a diverse and inclusive climate. He has also expanded partnerships that advance the research mission of the university and is leading a $2B fundraising campaign, the largest in the university’s history, which launched in October 2019.

He first joined CMU as vice president for research in 2014, where he was responsible for nurturing excellence in research, scholarship and creative activities. In his role as provost and chief academic officer from May 2015 to June 2017, Jahanian had broad responsibility for leading CMU's schools, colleges, institutes and campuses and was instrumental in long-range institutional and academic planning and implementation.

Prior to coming to CMU, Jahanian led the National Science Foundation Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) from 2011 to 2014. He guided CISE, with a budget of almost $900 million, in its mission to advance scientific discovery and engineering innovation through its support of fundamental research. Previously, Jahanian was the Edward S. Davidson Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan, where he served as chair for Computer Science and Engineering from 2007 to 2011 and as director of the Software Systems Laboratory from 1997 to 2000.

Jahanian has been an active advocate for how basic research can be uniquely central to an innovation ecosystem that drives global competitiveness and addresses national priorities. His highly influential research on internet infrastructure security formed the basis for the internet security company Arbor Networks, which he co-founded in 2001 and where he served as chairman until its acquisition in 2010.

He is a member of the board of directors for Highmark Health, the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, among others. He served as chair of the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) from 2015 to 2021 and has been a board member of the Computing Research Association (CRA). He sits on the executive committee of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and is a trustee of the Dietrich Foundation. Dr. Jahanian is active with the World Economic Forum, serving as vice chair of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) and as a member of the Global Network Advisory Board for WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR). He also serves on C4IR’s Internet of Things Council.  

Jahanian holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jahanian and his wife Tris have three adult children. 

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