Trustees ratify appointment of Sands as new Purdue provost

February 11, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University board of trustees on Thursday (Feb. 11) ratified the appointment of Timothy D. Sands as the university's next executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Timothy Sands

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Sands, 52, is the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering in the schools of Materials Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center. He will succeed Randy Woodson, who will become chancellor of North Carolina State University.

"Tim Sands will be a tireless advocate for enhancing our academic mission. I am impressed with his integrity and vision and his commitment to taking Purdue to the next level of excellence," Purdue President France A. Córdova said. "What was clear from our interaction and the remarks of his colleagues is that he listens well and thinks broadly, and he is a scholar of the highest standing."

Córdova sought input from the campus community following the provost candidate forum on Friday (Feb. 5), which featured presentations by Sands and fellow finalists.

"My thanks to everyone who took part in the process, viewed the presentations of the candidates and contributed thoughtful comments," Córdova said. "The wide response across the campus shows how important the position of provost is to the success of Purdue's colleges, faculty development and student programs.

"I am especially appreciative of the work of the search advisory committee and chair Rick Cosier, who advanced three very qualified finalists from an internal pool of two dozen nominees."

As executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, Sands will be responsible for oversight of all Purdue colleges and schools, the regional campuses, and related academic activities in coordination with the Office of the President. The provost also oversees libraries, cultural centers and student services, which includes admissions, registrar, financial aid and health facilities.

"Purdue has been very good to me and to my family. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve the Purdue community in the pivotal role of provost," Sands said. "We all know these are challenging times. I'm confident Purdue will emerge stronger than ever."

Sands has been at Purdue since 2002 when he was hired for a joint appointment in materials engineering and electrical and computer engineering. He was named director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center in 2006. From 1984-1993 Sands directed research groups at Bellcore, a New Jersey-based research company now known as Telcordia.

Sands has published more than 200 papers and has been granted 15 patents in areas that include metal/semiconductor contacts, semiconductor nanostructures and laser processing. He is co-inventor of a laser lift-off process that is used worldwide in the manufacture of high-performance blue and green LEDs. His present research efforts are directed toward the development of novel nanocomposite materials for environmentally friendly and cost-effective solid-state lighting, direct conversion of heat to electrical power, and thermoelectric refrigeration. He is a fellow of IEEE and the Materials Research Society.

A native of California, Sands earned a bachelor's degree with highest honors in engineering physics and a master's degree and doctorate in materials science from University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to Purdue, he was a professor of material science and engineering at UC, Berkeley.

His wife, Laura, is a professor of nursing at Purdue. They have three daughters and a son: Amanda, a Purdue graduate; K.C., a junior at Purdue; Kathryn, a Purdue freshman; and Haley, a junior at West Lafayette High School.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, 765-496-2644, 

Source: Timothy Sands, 765-496-6105,