June 12, 2019

Theresa Mayer named Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships

mayer-t21 Theresa Mayer (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Wednesday (June 12) announced that Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and innovation at Virginia Tech, has been named Purdue’s next executive vice president for research and partnerships.

Mayer, who will assume her role on Aug. 1, succeeds Suresh Garimella, who leaves Purdue at the end of June to become president at the University of Vermont.

“We welcome our distinguished alumna Dr. Mayer back to campus. An outstanding researcher and proven successful administrator, we think Theresa has all the qualities to lead our research programs to more new records and even greater success,” Daniels said.

Research awards at Purdue have grown to reach a record $454 million in 2018, up from $319 in 2013. And in just the past year, the National Science Foundation named Purdue as the location for the national Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources, and the Semiconductor Research Corp. named Purdue as the site for its national Center for Brain-inspired Computing Enabling Autonomous Intelligence. In addition, major partnerships have been forged with corporations such as Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Eli Lilly and Company, among others.

Mayer has served since 2016 as vice president for research and innovation and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech. She oversees the institution’s portfolio of research and associated centers and offices, research activities within the colleges and institutes, technology transfer, industry partnerships, sponsored programs and compliance. Prior to her role at Virginia Tech, Mayer was at Pennsylvania State University for more than 20 years, where she served as a distinguished professor of electrical engineering, associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering, the site director of the National Science Foundation’s National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network and director of the Materials Research Institute Nanofabrication Laboratory.

“The critical role that leading global research universities play in changing the world for the better has never been greater,” Mayer said. “Purdue’s research and scholarship is already among the strongest and most comprehensive in the nation and the world, and planned strategic investments across the university are positioning it for even greater advances in the future. I am thrilled and honored to return to Purdue to serve as the next executive vice president for research and partnerships at this critical time for public land-grant universities.  

“Under President Daniels’ leadership, Purdue has created a framework that recognizes the growing importance of deep and holistic partnerships of all types – state, federal, industry, university – to the university’s future success and growth.  I look forward to engaging with the campus community, partners, alumni and friends to advance Purdue’s mission together.”

Mayer is internationally recognized for her research in applications of nanotechnology to electronic and photonic devices and microsystems, and her work in directed assembly of nanoparticles is being used to address a variety of device and manufacturing challenges, ranging from low-power integrated nanosensor circuits to nontraditional patterning processes. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue. 

Source: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

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