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06/24/2004 07:00:00

Jennings Named Caltech Provost

PASADENA, Calif.— Paul Jennings, professor emeritus in civil engineering and applied mechanics at the California Institute of Technology, has been named provost of the Institute. He takes the post on August 1.

Jennings, who has been on the Caltech campus as a student, professor, and administrator for 44 years, returns to the provost position after a nine-year hiatus. He served as vice president and provost from 1989 to 1995. Thus, he was the Institute's sixth, and is now its eighth, provost since the post was created in 1962.

"Paul is an exciting choice," said Caltech President David Baltimore. "At a time when so many things are happening on campus--the $1.4 billion capital campaign is in mid-stream, there are a number of building and renovation projects projected, there are budgetary challenges to be met--he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the office. He is an effective administrator, a great leader and an eloquent spokesman. I personally enjoyed very much working with Paul when he filled in as acting vice president for business and finance a few years ago, and I look forward to having the opportunity to work closely with him again."

Jennings is an expert in the design of earthquake-resistant structures and in how the earth moves during a temblor. He played an active role in investigating the effects of damaging earthquakes.

He was chair of Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science from 1985 to 1989, served as the acting vice president for business and finance in 1995 and again in 1998-99, and as executive officer for civil engineering and applied mechanics from 1975 to 1980.

Jennings, who is highly regarded within the Caltech community for his energy, enthusiasm, and organizational skills, is also internationally renowned in the seismology and engineering fields. He has been the president of the Seismological Society of America and of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. He was a member of the National Science Foundation's advisory committee on earthquake engineering and a chairman of the National Research Council's committee on seismology.

Jennings earned a B.S. from Colorado State University in 1958, an M.S. from Caltech in 1960, and a Ph.D. from Caltech in 1963. He was a research fellow at Caltech in civil engineering in 1965 and swiftly moved up the academic ladder to become a full professor in 1972. He has been an emeritus professor since 2002. He also served on the teaching staff of the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1963 to 1965.

Jennings replaces Steve Koonin who served as provost from 1995 until early this year when he stepped down from the administrative role to become chief scientist of BP in London. Koonin is on a leave of absence from his faculty appointment as professor of theoretical physics.

Jennings is a hiker and avid fly fisherman. His wife is Missy and he has two grown daughters, Kathryn and Margaret.


Media Contact: Jill Perry, Media Relations Director (626) 395-3226

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Written by Jill Perry