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Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian Reappointed for a Second Five-Year Term

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Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing


Carnegie Mellon University's Board of Trustees(opens in new window) today approved the reappointment of President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window) for a second five-year term. Jahanian became Carnegie Mellon's 10th president in 2018.

The reappointment was recommended by the Presidential Review Committee formed in October 2022 in accordance with university bylaws. The committee was co-chaired by Board Vice-Chair Anne Molloy(opens in new window) and Faculty Senate Chair Neil Donahue(opens in new window), and consisted of six trustees and six faculty members. The committee interviewed more than 70 individuals from a variety of institutional perspectives, in addition to soliciting comments from the broader university community.

In his message to the global CMU community announcing the reappointment, Board Chair David Coulter(opens in new window) quoted the committee's final report, which noted that "Across all categories of the university's mission — academics, the student experience, research, advancement, DEIB and, perhaps most important, community building on a local, national and transnational scale — the large body of evidence that we gathered and pondered in our review revealed that Farnam Jahanian is the right person to lead Carnegie Mellon forward in the most productive, fruitful and unifying way over the next five years."

In its unanimous recommendation for reappointment, the committee also noted the president's "powerful and modern view of the role of a top university in research," his advocacy for its research mission, and his "obvious love" of students and intense focus on the student experience.

"The board extends our thanks to the committee members for their service in this important effort and to each member of the community who provided feedback," added Coulter.

"I believe even more fervently today in the unique strengths that Carnegie Mellon brings to this pivotal moment for society." — Farnam Jahanian

"It has been a profound and humbling privilege to serve Carnegie Mellon as president over the past five years, working alongside CMU's brilliant faculty, dedicated staff and exceptional students — and with leaders, partners and stakeholders on and off campus, including our more than 125,000 alumni," said Jahanian. "I believe even more fervently today in the unique strengths that Carnegie Mellon brings to this pivotal moment for society: visionary creativity and discovery, cutting-edge scientific and technological scholarship, and a commitment to developing the next generation of leaders who can tackle complex challenges with passion, focus and humanity."

As president, Jahanian has engaged the campus community in a series of initiatives that have enhanced CMU's academic excellence and institutional effectiveness and shone a national spotlight on the university's impact.

With the support of Provost James Garrett(opens in new window) and the academic leadership, the university has launched several new interdisciplinary programs to serve students' interests and society's needs. He has also spearheaded efforts to enhance the overall CMU experience, with an intentional focus on student success, holistic health and well-being, and support for a diverse and inclusive climate.

During this time, the university has seen a dramatic increase in the number and quality of applicants vying for admission. CMU's total number of undergraduate applications are up by approximately 67% compared to five years ago. In addition, women consistently make up half of the incoming undergraduate population across the university, with enrollment two to three times the national average for women in computer science(opens in new window) and engineering(opens in new window).

Carnegie Mellon's research budget has grown annually during Jahanian's tenure. Total research expenditures for FY22 were $466 million, representing a 24% growth over five years ago. The university has also launched several efforts to promote research, creativity and entrepreneurship, including the Future of Science Initiative(opens in new window), new investments in advanced manufacturing and robotics, and a new vision for an expanded Miller Institute for Contemporary Art(opens in new window); as well as several cross-cutting centers, such as the Center for Shared Prosperity(opens in new window), The Ballay Center for Design Fusion(opens in new window), the Hoskinson Center for Formal Mathematics(opens in new window), the Block Center for Technology and Society(opens in new window), and the Neuroscience Institute(opens in new window).

Jahanian's national thought leadership on the importance of research and education, including his testimony before Congress(opens in new window) on the urgency of investing in U.S. science and innovation, has helped drive important dialogue and contributed to the passage of bipartisan legislation such as the CHIPS and Science Act(opens in new window).

Jahanian's impact on Carnegie Mellon spans the university's global footprint. In 2021, he secured the largest gift in the university's history to endow the Carnegie Mellon University in Africa program and establish The Center for the Inclusive Digital Transformation of Africa. The $275.7 million partnership with the Mastercard Foundation(opens in new window) will significantly expand advanced engineering and technology education at Carnegie Mellon Africa and beyond.

CMU has also undergone its largest expansion of campus infrastructure, including significant renovation of education and learning spaces across campus, a re-envisioning of the residential experience and a new, state-of-the-art maker ecosystem.

Shortly after the president's inauguration(opens in new window) in 2018, the university launched Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University(opens in new window), CMU's most ambitious fundraising effort. With more than two years to go, CMU has already secured more than $2 billion in new commitments to support its faculty, students and staff.

President Jahanian's first term was also shaped by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. His leadership was instrumental to the university's phased and data-driven approach that balanced the university's mission, academic and administrative functions and community health and safety.

An internationally recognized computer scientist, entrepreneur, public servant and higher education leader, Jahanian first joined CMU as vice president for research in 2014, and later served as provost and chief academic officer from May 2015 to June 2017. He served as interim president from July 2017 until he was appointed president by the Board of Trustees in March 2018.

Prior to coming to CMU, Jahanian led the National Science Foundation Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering from 2011 to 2014. 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 holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin and 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.

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