William “Bill” Fitzgerald, honored alumnus (Class of 1983) and distinguished engineer and business leader, has been named chair of the Board of Trustees. A WPI trustee since 2013, he began his service as chair earlier this month. He succeeds Jack Mollen, who will rotate off the board this summer after 15 years of dedicated service.
Fitzgerald recently retired from GE Aviation where he served as vice president and general manager of the Commercial Engines Operation and was responsible for all commercial jet engine products and global support, including the GEnx product line, the fastest-selling jet engine in GE’s history. Throughout his career, he worked to increase efficiencies in the manufacturing and performance of GE engines. Upon earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from WPI, he began his career at GE Aviation as part of the Manufacturing Development Program and progressed through technical and operational leadership positions across supply chain and engine services businesses in the U.S. and Europe. He also earned a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering at Boston University and is a graduate of GE’s Advanced Manufacturing course. In 2013, he received WPI’s Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement from the WPI Alumni Association. In his most recent service on the WPI Board of Trustees, he chaired the Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), which focused on evaluating the Board’s practices and purposes in recruiting and developing members who can authentically represent the current and future WPI community. Those efforts are informing the work of the Board’s Nominations & Governance Committee, which he began chairing this year. Fitzgerald is also vice chair of the March of Dimes National Board of Trustees.
“Bill is an exceptional leader who is deeply committed to helping steer WPI toward its continued commitment to transform lives—on campus and around the globe—through this university’s pioneering project-based approach to STEM education," said WPI President Laurie A. Leshin. "He deeply appreciates the distinctiveness of WPI’s educational approach that provides our students, faculty, researchers, alumni, and staff opportunities to use their knowledge, skills, and passions to help address the world’s great problems—wherever they might be, and within any context.”
Leshin will depart WPI at the end of this academic year to become the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As of that time, Provost and Senior Vice President Winston Oluwole “Wole” Soboyejo will serve as interim president.