Suresh Garimella Appointed University of Vermont President

Suresh Garimella, UVM's 27th president. (Photo: Sally McCay)
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BURLINGTON. VT–The University of Vermont Board of Trustees announced that Dr. Suresh Garimella will become the University’s 27th president. His appointment will be effective July 1, 2019.

“The Board is very excited about Dr. Garimella becoming our next president,” said Board Chair David Daigle in  a statement on the university’s website. “He clearly emerged as the most capable candidate for this position. We are confident that we have selected an exceptional individual who will inspire our University to reach even greater levels of excellence.”

Garimella, who is currently Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, said, “I am deeply honored to be selected the University of Vermont’s next president. I appreciate the Board’s confidence and trust, and am eager to begin our important work together.

“I am impressed by UVM’s academic profile and the high quality of its students, faculty and staff. The University is well positioned to compete in a rapidly changing higher education environment, while fulfilling its important land-grant mission and positively impacting the lives of students and Vermonters. I look forward to listening to and engaging with the entire campus community, as well as the state and region, as we collectively identify the vision, strategies and creative approaches that will propel UVM into the next decade and beyond. Above all, we must emphasize our considerable strengths, while seeking opportunities for deliberate innovation designed to increase the accessibility to UVM’s learning, discovery, and engagement missions, and their impact.”

As Purdue’s executive vice president, Garimella leads a world-changing, $660 million per year research enterprise and oversees Discovery Park, a unique set of facilities and institutes, where disciplines converge to solve global challenges related to health and life sciences, sustainability, food, energy and defense and security. He is responsible for Purdue’s international programs and its global and corporate partnership endeavors, focused on strengthening relationships to advance innovation, research, and education.

Under his leadership, Purdue has experienced consecutive record years in research funding and established significant new partnerships around the world. Garimella conceived and implemented an ambitious Life Sciences Initiative, establishing two new institutes that bring together faculty from dozens of disciplines to study integrative neuroscience and inflammation, immunology and infectious disease, to complement signature efforts in the plant sciences and drug discovery. Additionally, partnering with Purdue’s Provost, he initiated the Integrative Data Science Initiative, which focuses on applying data science research to pressing fundamental and socially relevant issues. The initiative also establishes an educational ecosystem that prepares students for the rapidly expanding future of a data-driven, knowledge economy. Garimella’s previous administrative experience at Purdue University includes appointments as the Chief Global Affairs Officer and as the Associate Vice President for Engagement.

Garimella has a long list of honors and awards, including his 2018 appointment as a member of the National Science Board. In 2010, the U.S. Department of State appointed him as a Jefferson Science Fellow to serve as a Science Advisor in the International Energy Office. He also served for six years as a Senior Fellow in the State Department’s Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, and as the State Department delegate to the International Energy Agency. He is co- author of over 500 publications and 13 patents.

Garimella earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, his M.S. from The Ohio State University and his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

“Dr. Garimella clearly possesses the intellect, vision, leadership skills and academic credentials to be a highly successful president at UVM,” said Daigle. “He is a passionate educator, a highly accomplished researcher, an effective relationship builder and a gifted administrative leader. He has a well demonstrated ability to attract external investment and support, and he has a deep and abiding passion for the land-grant mission. Importantly, Dr. Garimella is sharply focused on the quality of the student educational experience as well as student success during and after college.”

The search for a new UVM president began formally in September. More than 90 outstanding candidates applied for the position. The search committee personally interviewed 10 of the most highly qualified candidates in December. Candidate confidentiality requirements necessitated that the University not identify publicly the outstanding finalists who emerged from the process. However, faculty members, administrative and academic leaders, and students played a key role in the search process. The Board of Trustees was briefed about their feedback and the results of comprehensive reference checking before Garimella was invited to campus for the public vetting stage. On Feb. 14, Garimella participated in a series of meetings with constituency groups across the University and interacted with campus community members in a large open forum. The Board was again briefed on campus feedback during its Feb. 15 meeting, after which they unanimously authorized the Chair to conduct negotiations and finalize an agreement with Garimella.

Garimella will succeed President Tom Sullivan, who has successfully led the University on a mission to enhance its academic and financial profile, while keeping a UVM education accessible to and affordable for all students.

“President Sullivan has led with a passion for students and higher education, with reasoned and thoughtful decision-making, and with unwavering integrity,” said Daigle. “Our University is unequivocally stronger as a result of his efforts and accomplishments. From the resounding success of our ambitious capital campaign, to the progress achieved on our major academic initiatives, to the positive transformation of our physical campus, we have made tremendous and lasting progress in advancing UVM’s mission under President Sullivan’s leadership. I am very proud of all UVM has accomplished over the past few years and I look forward to future advancements with President Garimella at the helm.”


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