I Give

2003-2004

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Names Dennis Berkey as its 15th President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/April 29, 2004
Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. – April 29, 2004 – The Board of Trustees of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has elected Dennis D. Berkey, Ph.D., as the university's 15th president. For more than 30 years, Dr. Berkey has distinguished himself as a nationally recognized academic leader, most recently as provost at Boston University. He will join WPI on July 1.

Berkey was among the more than 130 candidates nominated for the WPI presidency. The presidential search process began last September after Edward Alton Parrish, the university's 14th president, announced that he would retire on June 30 after nine years in the position.

"Dennis Berkey's extensive and successful background makes him the ideal person to lead WPI," said F. William Marshall, chairman of WPI's 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 new academic foundation, replacing liberal arts programs of the past. His warm and engaging style will endear him to all of our constituencies, and we look forward to his leadership and motivation in the months and years ahead. I am thrilled that he will be our president and CEO."

As WPI's 15th president, Berkey will lead a university that is in the midst of one of the most dynamic periods in its 139-year history. The past several years have seen the completion of a successful $150 million capital campaign; an expansion of its hallmark global education program, which sends more science and engineering students abroad than any other American university; consistent rankings among the top 60 national doctoral universities according to U.S. News & World Report; and a doubling of the university's sponsored research programs.

"It is an honor to be elected to lead WPI, one of the nation's most distinctive teaching and research universities," noted Berkey. "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. As knowledge of science, engineering and technology becomes increasingly important for all students, WPI is positioned for continuing national leadership in undergraduate education."

Berkey added, "WPI's rising national profile in research is a key contributor to the quality of its undergraduate and graduate programs, and an important factor in regional and national technological, scientific and economic development. WPI graduates are known for their innovations, entrepreneurship, leadership and loyalty to their alma mater. WPI is properly proud of, and enthusiastic about its membership in the Worcester community and the surrounding region. My wife, Cathy, and I look forward to joining this marvelous academic community, following on the excellent leadership of President Ed Parrish."

Chairman of the WPI presidential search committee and university trustee David K. Heebner '67 expressed the committee's pleasure that the Board of Trustees approved their unanimous recommendation, and that Berkey accepted the position as WPI's 15th president.

Heebner was particularly anxious to express the gratitude of the search committee to the WPI community for its genuinely helpful input and assistance throughout the search process. "This truly was a WPI-wide team effort that has resulted in the appointment of an exceptionally qualified scholar, educator and leader."

At Boston University, Dr. Berkey held of the position of provost on two different occasions totaling more than 13 years, the most recent period beginning in 1996. In this role of chief academic officer for the nation's fourth-largest private university, he oversaw 14 BU schools and colleges, 29,000 students, and the BU Corporate Education Center, as well as such programs as information technology, student life, international programs, and sponsored research, which totals $275 million annually. He also founded the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Office.

As the dean of Arts and Sciences at BU from 1987 to 2002, Berkey headed 23 academic departments and 15 research centers. He introduced three new departments, Computer Science, Cognitive and Neural Systems, and International Relations, and developed a freshman writing seminars program and a college honors program. During his more than 20 years as an administrator at Boston University, he also held positions of vice provost, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, and chairman of the Department of Mathematics.

Berkey is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the American Association of Higher Education. He has authored more than 15 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and two calculus text books. In addition, he received the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Boston University. A native of Ohio, Berkey earned a B.A. in mathematics from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, an M.A. in mathematics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati.

Berkey resides in Weston, Mass. with his wife, Catherine, an accomplished member of academia in her own right. She is a lecturer at the Harvard Medical School and a research associate in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She holds a B.A. in mathematics with a minor in biology from Miami University, an M.A. in mathematics and statistics from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in biostatistics from Harvard University. The Berkeys have three children.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well rounded, with the confidence, the interpersonal skills and the commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.

The university awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today, its first-rate research laboratories support master's and Ph.D. programs in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Located in the heart of the region's biotechnology and high-technology sectors, WPI has built research programs - including the largest industry/university alliance in North America - that have won it worldwide recognition.