Winston (Wole) Soboyejo was named Provost and Senior Vice President of WPI in October 2019, after joining WPI in September 2016 as the Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering.
Provost Soboyejo came to WPI from Princeton University, where he was a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a renowned materials scientist and engineer. For two years, he led WPI’s School of Engineering. In September 2018, he agreed to suspend his duties as the Dean of Engineering and serve as WPI’s interim Provost.
Before joining the Princeton faculty in 1999, he held research positions at the McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratories in St. Louis and the Edison Welding Institute in Columbus, Ohio, as well as faculty positions at The Ohio State University and MIT.
Soboyejo’s research focuses on biomaterials and the use of nanoparticles for the detection and treatment of disease, the mechanical properties of materials, and the use of materials science to promote global development. Recent projects include the use of nanomaterials for targeting and treating cancer; a shear assay technique for the measurement of the mechanical properties of biological cells; projects that are using science and technology to address global grand challenges in the areas of energy, clean water, affordable housing, and education for people in the developing world.
Provost Soboyejo has an exceptional record of achievement in international development and in building global research and educational partnerships. Since 2004, Soboyejo has chaired the African Scientific Committee of the Nelson Mandela Institutes, which was founded with the mission of bringing excellence in science and engineering to Sub-Saharan Africa. Among its goals is the establishment of a network of Pan-African research institutes modeled on the elite Indian Institutes of Technology.
The first of these centers of excellence, founded in 2007, was the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Abuja, Nigeria, Soboyejo first served as Vice President for Academics, Research, and Innovation at AUST from January 2011 to January 2012, and then as President and Provost of AUST from January 2012 to August 2014.
While at Princeton, he founded the U.S./Africa Materials Institute, one of six international materials institutes supported by the National Science Foundation. He served as President and Provost of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Abuja, Nigeria, a Pan-African university founded by the Nelson Mandela Institutions (NMI). Provost Soboyejo has also served as the chair of the African Scientific Committee of the NMI.
Professional Highlights & Honors
Provost Wolo Soboyejo was interviewed for the article which appeared in The Business Journals chain of newspapers across the country, including in Washington, Denver, Albany, and Memphis. “I think this is a conversation that our peers should be having across the country,” Soboyejo said. “I think it's an important dialogue that could really help shape the future of higher ed. How do we give security and academic freedom to faculty so that they can engage our students in environments that are truly transformative?”
Provost Wole Soboyejo was quoted about The Global School in the Worcester Business Journal article, Hiring WPI's Global Dean Marks Milestone in International Projects Program. He told the WBJ that the school’s arrival–coinciding with a pandemic–brought a sense of deeper meaning: “It really addressed its greater sense of purpose,” Soboyejo said. “It helped identify the global great challenges, such as, ‘How do we bring teams together on matters like this, matters such as global public safety?’ It has shown that the school is more important than ever.” The article added, “The brainchild of WPI President Laurie Leshin, the school is an umbrella to existing units such as the Department of Integrative and Global Studies and the Global Experience office–which helps students ready for off-campus travel–as well as the Global Lab. WPI stands alone in this particular brand of global learning, said Dawn Michele Whitehead, vice president of the Office of Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.”