Paul Alivisatos named next president of the University of Chicago

UChicago alumnus, distinguished leader and scientist at the University of California, Berkeley to become 14th president

The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees has named Paul Alivisatos as the University’s 14th president.

An accomplished leader in higher education and a world-renowned scientist, Alivisatos, 61, is currently executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Department of Chemistry and the former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Following an extensive international search, Alivisatos was elected president at a meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees on Feb. 25 and will assume his role on Sept. 1. He will succeed Robert J. Zimmer, who has served as president since 2006. Zimmer will transition into a new role as chancellor of the University on Sept. 1


“Throughout his distinguished academic career, Paul has demonstrated the skills and imagination needed to be an inspirational leader, confront the challenges of our time and guide the University of Chicago during a period of enormous opportunity,” said Joseph Neubauer, MBA’65, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, who led the search for a new president. “He has the vision to further elevate the University’s eminence, uphold its rich traditions and enduring values, and make an impact on higher education and the lives of University students, faculty and staff, as well as enrich the South Side community.”

A native of Chicago, Alivisatos is also a University of Chicago alumnus, having received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1981. Alivisatos will become only the second University of Chicago graduate to serve as University president in its 130-year history. Edward H. Levi, who attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the undergraduate College and the Law School, led the University from 1968 to 1975.

“I am honored for this opportunity to lead the distinctive intellectual community at the University of Chicago, a special place that was so transformative in my early education and guided me throughout my academic career,” Alivisatos said. “I look forward to partnering with members of our campus and South Side communities, who are so integral to the University’s role as a great research university in one of the world’s greatest cities.”


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