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May 21: Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon Reappointed for Third Five-Year Term


Teresa Thomas

Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon
Reappointed for Third Five-Year Term

Cohon Praised for Taking University to "New Heights"

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Board of Trustees today approved the reappointment of Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon for a third five-year term. Cohon became Carnegie Mellon's eighth president in 1997 and was reappointed in 2002.     

The reappointment was recommended by a 12-member Presidential Review Committee, which was formed last fall in accordance with university bylaws.

Jared L. Cohon"Jared Cohon has been, and will continue to be, an exceptional leader of Carnegie Mellon University," said Carnegie Mellon Chairman of the Board David Shapira. "He has taken this university to new heights and has overseen tremendous growth in education, research and development. His astute leadership and his inimitable management style have advanced Carnegie Mellon as a leader not only in the Pittsburgh region, but also around the world. I don't believe there's a better person to lead this great university than Jared Cohon.    

"I thank the Presidential Review Committee for their very thorough and positive report, and for their professionalism in handling the process," Shapira added.     

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead Carnegie Mellon for the next five years," Cohon said. "Carnegie Mellon fosters collaborative problem-solving in an environment that blends technology and the sciences with the arts, humanities, business and policy. Innovation, problem-solving and collaboration have shaped this institution for 107 years and characterize our success today as one of the world's leading research universities. Now more than ever, these strengths match-up with important, emerging needs in our complex world."    

Carnegie Mellon has progressed significantly in Cohon's 10 years as president, making advancements in many areas, including education, research and regional impact. Under Cohon's tenure, Carnegie Mellon's curriculum has been recognized for its interdisciplinary focus and attention to ethics, environmental studies, global awareness and innovation. In 2005, Cohon received an Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the university's "problem-solving, reflective practitioner's approach to undergraduate education." In 2001, the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA identified Carnegie Mellon as one of three universities nationwide to make significant improvements in its undergraduate programs. 

Carnegie Mellon has also made great strides globally and is now an international degree-granting institution. In 1997, when Cohon became Carnegie Mellon's president, the university offered only one program in three counties outside the U.S. Today, it offers 12 degree programs in 10 countries: Australia, China, England, Greece, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Qatar, its first international branch campus. Carnegie Mellon also has student exchange and joint-degree programs in Singapore, Taiwan, India and China.    

Carnegie Mellon's academic prowess and high national and international rankings published by annual college guides are reflected in the number and quality of applications for undergraduate admission from students around the globe. This year the university received a record number of more than 22,000 applications for 1,360 spots — nearly double the amount received in 1997 during Cohon's first year in office. The number of international undergraduate and graduate students has also risen greatly, going from a total of 1,605 in the fall of 1996 to 2,624 this past fall. Carnegie Mellon was ranked 21st among national research universities by U.S. News & World Report magazine this year. Newsweek magazine rated Carnegie Mellon among the "New Ivies" and "The Top 100 Global Universities." The London Times Education Supplement ranked Carnegie Mellon 35th among the world's top 200 universities.     

Carnegie Mellon's research budget has grown annually during Cohon's tenure, with a focus on information technology, engineering, the environment and the life sciences. Sponsored research funding totals $317 million, almost double what it was in 1997.    

Cohon has also been a strong advocate for diversity on campus and has established a Diversity Advisory Council, which he heads. Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the council publishes a report on the efforts to increase diversity on campus and presents an award to an individual for making substantial contributions to improving the culture and climate in the Carnegie Mellon community.     

Since 1997, Cohon has fostered support for the region's economy through Carnegie Mellon programs and activities, and its collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh. Changes in the university's technology transfer operation led to 14 new start-ups in 2006, an all-time high for Carnegie Mellon and among the highest rates in the nation. Carnegie Mellon's Collaborative Innovation Center was built to attract technology companies to Pittsburgh, and the move has been very successful. Intel, Apple and Google now have offices in the center and have been responsible for bringing new jobs to the city. In 2006, a national study named Carnegie Mellon one of America's leading "good neighbor" universities in recognition of its contributions to Pittsburgh.

Cohon is a nationally recognized authority on environmental and water resource systems analysis, a discipline that combines engineering, economics and applied mathematics. He is a former member and chairman of the federal Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, to which he was appointed by President Bill Clinton. He is a member of the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness, which focuses on U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Cohon to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He was also appointed chairman of the council's Senior Advisory Committee on Academia and Policy Research, and co-chairman of the Secure Border/Open Doors Committee.     

Cohon came to Carnegie Mellon from Yale University, where he was dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and professor of environmental systems analysis. He joined Yale after 19 years at Johns Hopkins University, where he rose through the faculty ranks to become associate dean of engineering and vice provost for research.     

Cohon earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

[Photo by Harry Giglio]