Professor Alice P. Gast, currently President of Lehigh University and former Vice President for Research and Associate Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will succeed Sir Keith O’Nions FRS as President of Imperial College London from September 2014.
The appointment concludes an international search for Imperial’s new President and completes the appointments within a new leadership model announced by the Chairman of its Council, Baroness Manningham-Buller, in April 2012.
An internationally renowned scholar in the field of chemical engineering and a leader in higher education, Professor Gast has served as President of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania since 2006. At Lehigh she has focussed on the quality of undergraduate and postgraduate education and their integration with research. She has led a campus-wide strategic planning and implementation process, and launched major initiatives in sustainability, inquiry-based learning, neighbourhood revitalisation and campus master planning. Professor Gast has overseen a 47% increase in the size of Lehigh’s campus estate, expanded the university’s international presence, concluded its $500 million fund-raising campaign, and helped to raise an additional $225 million during her tenure.
Before Lehigh University, Professor Gast was Vice President for Research and Associate Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and held the Robert T. Haslam chair in chemical engineering. She was previously at Stanford University from 1985 to 2001 as a professor of chemical engineering and as affiliated faculty at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. She has been a US Science Envoy to Central Asia and is currently a Board Director of the Chevron Corporation and Trustee of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.
In 2012 Imperial announced it would create two senior posts, the President and the Provost. Professor Gast will become President in September 2014. She will be the 16th head of Imperial, and both the first woman and first appointment from overseas to lead the College. Professor James Stirling became Provost in August 2013 and concentrates on the College’s core academic mission of education, research and the translation of research results into practical outcomes. Professor Gast will lead the College’s strategy, including the development of its new 25 acre campus, Imperial West, and its links to government, industry, philanthropists and alumni.
Baroness Manningham-Buller, Chair of the Council at Imperial, led an international Appointing Committee to find a successor to Sir Keith, who will retire after four and a half years at Imperial’s helm.