Carnegie Mellon University

Image of Farnam Jahanian

October 21, 2018

CMU To Celebrate Inauguration of President Farnam Jahanian

By Julie Mattera

Julie Mattera
  • Marketing & Communications
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Carnegie Mellon University will inaugurate its 10th president, Farnam Jahanian, on Friday, Oct. 26. Jahanian, a nationally recognized computer scientist and successful entrepreneur, was unanimously appointed president by Carnegie Mellon's Board of Trustees in March following a national search.

Jahanian will be formally installed during an investiture ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Jared L. Cohon University Center's Wiegand Gym. The event will be marked by keynote speeches from Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block, a CMU alumnus and trustee, and Cornell University President Martha Pollack. Actors Corey Cott and Tamara Tunie — CMU School of Drama alumni — will perform.

Jahanian joined Carnegie Mellon in August 2014 as vice president for research. He served as CMU's provost and chief academic officer from 2015-2017.

"We are at the center of a societal and economic transformation catalyzed by automation, the digitization of information, the democratization of knowledge and unprecedented access to data," Jahanian said. "Carnegie Mellon is positioned like no other institution to define and lead the space where technology and humanity intersect, and to play a leading role in writing the story of the next century. I am looking forward to working with this extraordinary community, and with partners across the globe, to deepen CMU's societal impact at this pivotal time."

Jahanian has led a period of accelerating momentum in education and research since arriving on campus. He has overseen the launch of major interdisciplinary research centers and substantial investments in the campus' infrastructure, including the Block Center for Technology and Society and David A. Tepper Quadrangle, which opened last month. He also has advocated for a more robust research enterprise, working to diversify sources of funding and grow stronger relationships with foundation and industry partners.

Jahanian spearheaded the implementation of the university's Strategic Plan 2025. In the 2016-2017 academic year, he chaired the Task Force on the CMU Experience, which continues to promote a more proactive approach to health, wellness and student success.

"Farnam embodies the entrepreneurial, curious and bold spirit we value so much at CMU," James E. Rohr, chair of the CMU Board of Trustees, said. "Under his leadership, this global community will continue to foster brilliant ideas at the edges and intersections of traditional disciplines, and shape the next generation of leaders. Farnam's investiture as CMU's tenth president marks the beginning of a very exciting future for Carnegie Mellon as we secure our place among the world's greatest universities."

During Jahanian's tenure, the university has introduced new programs that prepare students for the demands of a rapidly changing world, such as majors in behavioral economics, computational biology and artificial intelligence.

Prior to arriving at Carnegie Mellon, Jahanian led the National Science Foundation Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering from 2011-2014 in its mission to advance scientific discovery and engineering innovation through its support of fundamental research. He was a professor at the University of Michigan from 1993-2014. His 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.

Jahanian received his 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.

The investiture ceremony is the highlight of a two-day celebration at CMU. Watch parties will take place in the Cohon University Center's Lee Lobby, Kirr Commons and Studio Theater. Following the ceremony, a campus-wide inauguration picnic for students, faculty, and staff will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the College of Fine Arts lawn.

CMU will host a symposium in the Tepper Quad's Simmons Auditorium following the picnic. The symposium will serve as a celebration of Carnegie Mellon's impact in the world, with educators and researchers from across the university reflecting on the discoveries and innovations that have enhanced lives in Pittsburgh, the region and the world.

The inauguration will lead into CMU's homecoming weekend activities and football game against Geneva College on Saturday, Oct. 27.