PhD Geochemistry California Institute of Technology 1994
MS Geochemistry California Institute of Technology 1989
BS Chemistry Arizona State University Summa Cum Laude 1987
As WPI’s 16th president—and the first woman to serve in the role—Laurie Leshin is committed to elevating WPI’s impact in communities worldwide. She brings over 20 years of leadership and government service experience to the role, which she assumed in 2014, and combines a lifelong love of learning and exploration with a strong track record of igniting action to advance critical institutions and programs.
Before joining WPI, Leshin was the deputy director of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate; the Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University; and dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she also continued her work as a scientist for the Mars rover Curiosity mission.
She is a recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Distinguished Public Service Medals, and the Meteoritical Society’s Nier Prize. She has also served on the board of directors of Women in Aerospace, and on the Council of the American Geophysical Union. She earned a BS in chemistry at Arizona State University, and an MS and PhD in geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology.
President Leshin speaks with CBS Boston’s Paula Ebben hours after William Shatner’s historic trip to space, saying there has been new excitement around aerospace studies and WPI growing numbers in this field of study is proof.
The Boston Globe quoted President Leshin in the front-page article. “The Delta variant is the wild card all of higher ed is watching now,” Leshin, who leads the Massachusetts Higher Education Working Group, told The Globe. “University COVID response teams across the state are actively tracking and planning for a variety of scenarios.”