February 11, 2015
Dear Members of the University Community:
I am pleased to announce that Farnam Jahanian has accepted my offer to be the Provost of the university, effective at the end of this academic year.
This offer follows on the recommendation of the Provost Search Advisory Committee after an extensive international search launched at the start of this academic year.
Farnam is an accomplished computer scientist, successful entrepreneur, and administrative leader with broad experience in higher education, government, and the private sector. In the short time that he has served the university as Vice President for Research, he has garnered uncommon praise internally and externally for his vision, work ethic, and passion for what Carnegie Mellon is and what we aspire to be. He understands the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that we face, and he has ultimate respect for our faculty, students, staff, and alumni. His insights on the student experience, and his commitment to rigorous, experientially-based education and research at all levels make him ideally suited to serve as our Provost. I am very pleased that Farnam has agreed to take on this new role, and I look forward to working with him.
Prior to CMU, Farnam 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 and transformative advances in cyber infrastructure.
Previously, Farnam 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. His research on network routing and 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. Farnam has testified before Congress on a broad range of topics, including cybersecurity, next generation computing, and big data. He has received numerous honors for his scholarly research, commitment to education and technology commercialization impact. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Farnam holds a master's degree and doctorate in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin.
The strong foundation on which Farnam will take on this role is a profound tribute to Nathan Urban, who has served as Interim Provost since last summer. Nathan is a distinguished academic who has had success throughout his tenure at the university, and his taking on this role was a clear indication of his great dedication to this community. Nathan has earned high praise throughout the campus for his integrity, deep insights on matters of education and research, and his collaborative and engaging style. I am enormously grateful to Nathan, and I look forward to his continued commitment and influence as Interim Provost and beyond.
I would like to thank the members of the campus community who helped inform the Provost search through various town hall meetings and other settings, and those from across the campus involved in the final stages of the interview process. I also wish to thank Ilene Nagel and her team at Russell Reynolds for guiding the search, as well as Debbie Rodday for her exceptional administrative support throughout. I am enormously grateful to the members of the Provost Search Advisory Committee for their diligence and dedication; the committee comprised Eric Anderson, Linda Argote, Irene Fonseca, Roberta Klatzky, Jelena Kovacevic (co-chair), Kristen Kurland, Andrew Moore and Michael Murphy (co-chair). I am extremely impressed by the considered and thoughtful way in which the Search Advisory Committee analyzed the comparative attributes of a large and diverse pool of highly accomplished and talented candidates. I am also most grateful to the Faculty Senate and the broader campus community for their very thoughtful input to this search.
Please join me in congratulating Farnam on his appointment to this pivotal role at CMU.