Kola Akindele has joined Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) as the Assistant Vice President of External Relations and Strategic Partnerships.
“We are so pleased to have Kola Akindele join WPI’s efforts to promote the university and build alliances with key stakeholders,” said Donna Stock Vice President for Advancement, ad interim. “This is an important time of strategic growth and innovative excellence for the university, and Kola’s talents will be critical in helping to further elevate WPI’s position as a model for student success, a project-based pioneer and leader, and a globally engaged research university.”
“In this role, he will lead our newly formed External Relations and Partnerships team, bringing together our Corporate, Foundation, Community, and Government Relations functions in one unit,” said Stock. “What’s more, Kola’s familiarity with the Worcester area, and his deep knowledge and vast network of external constituents will serve WPI well as we seek to enhance our university resources by working closely with representatives from each of these important audiences.”
Akindele brings to the role extensive experience in senior leadership and community engagement. He was most recently Assistant Vice Chancellor for City and Community Relations at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he served for more than seven years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UMass Boston, a master’s degree from UMass Lowell and a law degree from Northeastern University. He currently serves on the boards of United Way of Central Massachusetts, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce; last year he was named to the Worcester Business Journal’s Power 50 Class of 2020.
“I am extremely excited and honored to be joining this wonderful institution,” said Akindele. ”WPI has a long history of applying its expertise—as well as developing leaders—to solve real-world problems locally and across the globe. It is an effort that depends on strong multisector partnerships and I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to WPI's rich legacy by stewarding many of these relationships.”
As AVP of External Relations and Partnerships, Akindele will continue the work of Linda Looft, who served as WPI’s Assistant VP for Government and Community Relations for nearly 15 years until her retirement in 2020. He will continue to strengthen WPI’s critical connections within the local business community, Worcester City Hall, the Massachusetts State House, and on Capitol Hill. In those efforts, he will work closely with WPI’s Vice Provost of Research, its Research Solutions Institute, and academic and corporate relations partners toward securing government, corporate, and private funding for research projects.
According to Stock, “Kola will carry on Linda Looft’s legacy as we continue to advance our research, partnerships, and outreach—locally and globally. With his talent and experience, he is well poised to help advance WPI’s reputation and visibility as the university seeks connections and support for various research and programmatic initiatives benefiting our students, faculty, alumni, and others.”