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05/26/2006 07:00:00

Caltech Names New President:Georgia Tech Provost Jean-Lou Chameau

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PASADENA, Calif.- Jean-Lou Chameau, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been named the new president of the California Institute of Technology. He will take office on or before September 1. He succeeds David Baltimore, who is stepping down from the presidency after nearly nine years in the post. Baltimore will remain at the Institute, where he intends to focus on his scientific work and teaching.

Chameau, 53, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Hightower Professor at Georgia Tech, was formerly dean of the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, the largest in the country. He led educational and research programs in nine engineering disciplines--all of which have received national recognition and collectively confer the nation's largest number of engineering degrees on undergraduate and graduate students. As provost, he had programmatic, strategic, and financial responsibilities for the academic and research programs of the university, including the Georgia Tech Research Institute. In addition, his office oversaw the continuing and executive education, economic development, and commercialization programs of Georgia Tech.

Chameau was selected by the Caltech Board of Trustees after a nationwide search conducted by the faculty search committee.

"Jean-Lou Chameau impressed us with his intelligence, his vision, his personality, and his extensive administrative and fund-raising experience and success," said David Stevenson, Van Osdol Professor of Planetary Science and head of the faculty search committee. "We believe that he is well suited to the challenges and opportunities of the Caltech presidency in a time of change in the global environment of science, technology, and education. We expect him to be an engaging and energizing presence in our community of faculty, students, and staff, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

"Dr. Chameau brings a wealth of managerial experience and a strong commitment to students, faculty, and research," said Kent Kresa, chairman of the Caltech Board of Trustees. "He has done a terrific job at Georgia Tech, and I'm positive he will lead Caltech with the same energy, excitement, and wisdom he displayed there."

"As a person who loves science and technology, I cannot imagine a better and more exciting opportunity than to serve Caltech at this point of my career," said Chameau. "Caltech's commitment to and history of excellence are unequaled. It is a privilege to be asked to lead this institution. It is also very humbling. I look forward to working with such an exceptional group of faculty, staff, students, and trustees."

Throughout his career at Georgia Tech, Chameau worked to make the university a worldwide model for interdisciplinary education and research, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and for the promotion of these activities as a catalyst for economic development. He is known for his commitment to the development of multidisciplinary talent in faculty and students. He helped create an environment that promotes innovative learning and collaboration among individuals who share a passion for similar problems. In recent years, he fostered the creation of major complexes for bio-environmental-materials and nanotechnology. These facilities reflect his vision for "research neighborhoods" in which the organizational barriers to multidisciplinary endeavors were broken down by physically locating together faculties from several disciplines.

Chameau places a strong emphasis on improving the educational experience of students, increasing diversity, and fostering research, entrepreneurial, and international opportunities for faculty and students. He was a champion for programs that contributed to Georgia Tech's leadership role in the education of minority students in engineering, and in the recruitment, retention and promotion of women on the faculty. He was instrumental in positioning Georgia Tech as an internationally recognized university through the creation of innovative educational and research programs and partnerships around the world, including campuses and platforms in Asia and Europe.

"Jean-Lou Chameau comes to Caltech with a reputation for deep interest in and effective attention to faculty and student issues," said Henry Lester, chair of the faculty and Bren Professor of Biology. "His vision and energy have led to productive ties with international institutions and with industry. Speaking as a biologist who participates in Caltech's programs in Computation and Neural Systems, in Bioengineering, and in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, I'm delighted by Dr. Chameau's long-standing interdisciplinary interests."

Chameau played a key role in Georgia Tech's initiative to educate students to understand their role in creating a more prosperous and sustainable society. He led the efforts that resulted in the creation of the Center for Sustainable Technology, which later became the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development, promoting educational and research activities that address the global, complex nature of environmental issues and emphasize the linkages between science, technology, society, and the environment.

As part of his responsibilities at Georgia Tech, Chameau engaged in numerous development activities, leading efforts to secure major donations for the university's endowment. He was also active in state and federal relations and professional organizations such as the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable.

Chameau received his secondary and undergraduate education in France and his graduate education in civil engineering from Stanford University. In 1980 he joined the civil engineering faculty at Purdue University, where he subsequently became full professor and head of the geotechnical engineering program. In 1991, he became the director of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. In 1994-95, he was the president of Golder Associates, Inc., an international geotechnical consulting company. He currently serves on the boards of directors for MTS Systems Corporation, Prime Engineering, and l'Ecole Polytechnique, and is a trustee and treasurer of the Georgia Tech Research Corporation. He is also serving as president of Georgia Tech Lorraine, the European platform of Georgia Tech.

Chameau's technical interests include sustainable technology; environmental geotechnology; soil dynamics; earthquake engineering; and liquefaction of soils. He was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the ASCE A. Casagrande Award, and the Rodney Chipp Memorial Award from the Society of Women Engineers.

He is married to Dr. Carol Carmichael, the director of the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development at Georgia Tech. She is originally from Wisconsin and has been at Georgia Tech for almost 20 years.

Chameau is the eighth person to lead "modern-day" Caltech, his predecessors being James A. B. Scherer, Robert A. Millikan, Lee A. DuBridge, Harold Brown, Marvin L. Goldberger, Thomas E. Everhart, and Baltimore. ###

Contact: Jill Perry (626) 395-3226

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Written by Jill Perry