Martin A. Schmidt ’81, Ph.D., has been named the 19th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) by the Rensselaer Board of Trustees. Dr. Schmidt, currently Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will assume office at the nation’s oldest and one of the world’s most renowned technological research universities on July 1, 2022.
Dr. Schmidt will succeed Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, who has led an extraordinary transformation of Rensselaer since 1999. She earlier had announced that she will step down as Rensselaer’s 18th President on June 30, 2022.
“I am very pleased to announce the selection of Martin A. Schmidt as our next president,” said Arthur F. Golden, chairman of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees. “Marty is a unifying, visionary leader, and a renowned scholar in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I am completely confident that he is the person to continue the remarkable and inspiring path and trajectory that Shirley Ann Jackson has established at RPI during her extraordinary 23-year tenure. His proven ability to lead global, interdisciplinary technological research enterprises, and collaborations with industry and government partners, as well as his bold vision for pedagogical reforms will further advance our Institute’s research, and graduate and undergraduate education, enabling us to continue to develop technological leaders who are global citizens prepared to change the world. And as an RPI undergraduate alumnus we are eager to welcome him home!”
“I am excited and proud to welcome Martin Schmidt back to Rensselaer,” said John E. Kelly, III ’78G, ’80Ph.D., the chair of Presidential Search Committee and a member the Rensselaer Board of Trustees. “I have known Marty for many years and have witnessed firsthand his outstanding accomplishments and multiple talents that uniquely qualify him to continue to build on the many achievements of the Institute as we approach Rensselaer’s bicentennial in 2024.”
Martin A. Schmidt received his B.S. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981 and earned his S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983 and 1988, all in electrical engineering. A member of the MIT faculty since 1988, Schmidt served as director of MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories from 1999 to 2006, and as associate provost from 2008 to 2013.
Schmidt has served as MIT’s provost since 2013; he is also the Ray and Maria Stata Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The provost is MIT’s senior academic and budget officer, with overall responsibility for the Institute’s educational programs, as well as for the recruitment, promotion, and tenuring of faculty.
In 2016, Schmidt began a process to reimagine MIT’s approach to building welcoming and inclusive communities. He promoted the creation of resources to support the diverse leadership across campus as they work to improve the climate within their academic areas and undertook a major reorganization of the Institute Community and Equity Office. More recently, he has overseen development of an Institute-wide Strategic Action Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
In 2018, Schmidt played a central role in the creation of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. Made possible by a $350 million gift, Schwarzman College represented the most significant organizational change at MIT in 70 years. The College aims to strengthen MIT’s core computer science activities by hiring 25 additional faculty; to bridge disciplines between computer science and other disciplines through recruitment of 25 new joint faculty; and to create a new unit to focus on the social and ethical responsibilities of computing.
“MIT has been a remarkable home for me,” Schmidt said. “It has allowed me to pursue my research and teaching passions, and I’ve been presented with outstanding opportunities. But there is really something special about being given the opportunity to lead your undergraduate alma mater. RPI has a very bright future, and I look forward to helping to shape that future. My wife, Lyn, and I are very excited to return to a campus which we knew very well 40 years ago, and to reacquaint ourselves with the RPI community.”
“Dr. Martin Schmidt is a splendid choice as the next President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,” said Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President. “Marty brings passion and purpose to his work. His leadership will spur further advances at Rensselaer in research, and in undergraduate and graduate education, continuing its focus on creating a more sustainable, secure, and healthy world.”
Learn more about Martin A. Schmidt at: 19thpresident.rpi.edu