Engineering Dean to Step Down

Narayanamurti, the Armstrong professor of engineering and applied sciences, cited a desire to return to teaching and research. He had...

Venkatesh Narayanamurti, the dean of Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), will step down in September, he announced last week.

Narayanamurti, the Armstrong professor of engineering and applied sciences, cited a desire to return to teaching and research. He had initially announced a decision to return to these duties in 2005, but agreed to stay on to oversee the transition of engineering and applied sciences from a division of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) to a separate school (see "First Day of School" for Engineering in the November-December 2007 issue of Harvard Magazine).

"Venky," as he is widely known, was named dean of the former Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1998. He also held the position of FAS dean of physical sciences from 2003 to 2006, and has maintained an active research group in nanoscience and technology throughout his deanship. Under his administration, the engineering and applied sciences faculty ranks grew by 50 percent, and sponsored research funding in these areas grew by 60 percent, according to the University Gazette article announcing Narayanamurti's decision.

University president Drew Faust told the Gazette that Narayanamurti has been "both the architect and the chief engineer of Harvard's newest school." FAS dean Michael D. Smith called Narayanamurti "a visionary leader who gets the job done."

Before coming to Harvard in 1998, Narayanamurti served as dean of the college of engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara; as a vice president for research and exploratory technology at Sandia National Laboratories; and as director of a research laboratory at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from the University of Delhi and a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University.

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