Greek-American Paul Alivisatos named president of the University of Chicago

Greek-American Paul Alivisatos named president of the University of Chicago

Greek-American Paul Alivisatos named president of the University of Chicago

Greek-American scientist Paul Alivisatos has been appointed as the 14th president of the University of Chicago by the University’s Board of Trustees.

The 61-year-old is currently executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, Berkeley.

He is also the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Department of Chemistry and the former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The University of Chicago alumnus was elected president on February 25 and will assume his role on September 1.

Alivisatos 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.”

Alivisatos will become only the second University of Chicago graduate to serve as University president in its 130-year history.

“I am honoured 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.”

During his 33 years at Berkeley, Alivisatos made groundbreaking contributions to the fundamental physical chemistry of nanocrystals, which today are used widely in research, including for biological imaging and consumer electronics.

He has also received more than 25 awards and honours including the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Priestley Medal and most recently the Frontiers of Knowledge Award from Spain’s BBVA Foundation.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Alivisatos is married to Nicole Alivisatos, a retired chemist and former editor of the journal Nano Letters.

The following message was sent from Paul Alivisatos, incoming University president, to members of the University community:

I am deeply honored that the Board of Trustees has elected me to serve as the next president of the University of Chicago. This is an exciting opportunity and a special homecoming for me as a graduate of the University of Chicago College — a place that challenged and inspired me as a student, and helped me develop ways of thinking that have shaped my work and my life.

As part of my greeting and expression of gratitude to the University community, I am sharing the video linked here. I wanted to share the profound impact that the University of Chicago made on me as a student, my admiration for the great leaders who have preceded me, and my commitment to working alongside you in meeting the challenges of our time with great ambition, informed by this University’s enduring values and mission.

I am grateful to be entrusted with this responsibility, and I am eager to begin our work together. I look forward to getting to know you over the coming year, as we continue to build upon the University of Chicago’s academic excellence and intellectual rigor, its extensive engagement with the South Side and the City of Chicago, and its capacity for positive impact across academic fields and around the world.

*More on GCT: How a Greek family built a multi-billion Film Studio in Chicago
GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.