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Jupiter Aligns with Mars

Former BU Provost Is WPI's 15th President

The search for the 15th president of WPI concluded at the end of April when the university announced that Dennis D. Berkey, provost at Boston University, would succeed Edward Alton Parrish. Berkey was an administrator at the nation's fourth-largest private university for more than 20 years, serving a total of 13 years as provost, 15 years as dean of Arts and Sciences, and several years as vice provost, associate vice president for academic affairs, and chairman of the Department of Mathematics.

As provost, Berkey oversaw 14 schools and colleges, 29,000 students, and the university's Corporate Education Center. He also guided information technology, student life, and international programs, and administered $275 million in annual research sponsorship.

"Dennis Berkey's extensive and successful background makes him the ideal person to lead WPI," notes F. William Marshall, chairman of the WPI Board of Trustees. "He is highly regarded nationally as an educator, and he has a vision well matched to that of this university. His leadership will be critical as WPI addresses the opportunities and challenges inherent in technologically oriented education, particularly as science and technology-based programs become this century's academic foundation, replacing liberal arts programs of the past."

Trustee David K. Heebner '67, presidential search committee chair, told the Boston Globe that Berkey brings to WPI "a rich background of experience that shows him to be a great scholar, an experienced educator, and, above all, a terrific leader. This is Jupiter aligning with Mars: a perfect fit of an extremely well-qualified individual with an institution that has a great deal of opportunity in its future."

Berkey says WPI's innovative academic programs and growing strengths in research were among the qualities that attracted him to the position. "Long distinguished by its honors-college approach to engineering and science-based education, and emphasizing close student-faculty relations, project-based learning and international experiences, WPI attracts outstanding students, highly talented in the arts as well as in the sciences," he says. "As knowledge of science, engineering, and technology becomes increasingly important for all students, WPI is positioned for continuing national leadership in undergraduate education."

A mathematician, Berkey has authored more than 15 peer-reviewed scientific papers and two calculus textbooks. He received the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Boston University. A native of Ohio, he earned a B.A. in mathematics at Muskingum College, an M.A. in mathematics from Miami University, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati.

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Last modified: Sep 15, 2004, 12:47 EDT
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