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George Mason University Names Lehigh Engineering Dean Next Provost

George Mason University has chosen S. David Wu, the dean of a prestigious engineering college, to be its next provost and executive vice president.

Wu joins Mason after a 27-year career at Lehigh University, including the past decade as its dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. He brings a wealth of experience that will strengthen George Mason and its mission to set the standard for public universities in the 21st century.

During his time at Lehigh, Wu successfully started several multidisciplinary programs, forged strategic partnerships, supported groundbreaking research and encouraged students to seek global experience as part of their studies.

He starts with Mason on July 1.

“Dr. Wu is a leader who understands what it takes to build a great university in today’s competitive marketplace,” says Ángel Cabrera, Mason president. “His values and background are a perfect fit for an innovative and inclusive university like Mason with a strategic commitment to growing our research portfolio, facilitating access to a diverse student body and providing a transformational learning experience to our students.”

Wu says he was impressed with the direction Mason is taking, citing its commitment to research, innovation, global learning and diversity.

“Mason’s bold, innovative approach is absolutely what we need in higher education right now,” Wu says.

Wu rejuvenated Lehigh’s renowned engineering school by working with the faculty to build 12 multidisciplinary programs, many of which reached beyond engineering.

“All major disciplines of study represent different thinking paradigms,” Wu says. “You’re equipping young people with multiple perspectives of thinking, to take a holistic view in solving the world’s problems.”

Wu says he was attracted to Mason’s strategic goals, including its commitment to delivering 100,000 career-ready graduates over the next decade. Universities have a responsibility to demonstrate that they are a sound investment not only for students but also for society, Wu says.

At Lehigh, he created new strategic focuses for the Rossin College that are in line with society’s most pressing challenges, including health and healthcare delivery, energy and infrastructure, and computing and data analytics.

For the health and healthcare initiative, he launched an alliance with the Mayo Clinic in 2006 and raised significant funds to build a research facility last year. Under the energy and sustainable infrastructure focus, Wu engaged in the fundraising and completion of an integrated science, technology, environment and policy building, along with associated research and educational programs. He turned to major technology firms such as IBM, Intel, Google, Facebook and Cisco to help detail an academic agenda designed to give Rossin graduates the most industry-savvy education possible.

“David Wu has been a dedicated and innovative leader throughout his career at Lehigh,” says Alice P. Gast, Lehigh president. “He is a champion for interdisciplinary and collaborative work and has grown Lehigh’s interdisciplinary offerings and enrollments through novel collaborations with business and arts and sciences. His leadership and his vision make him a great choice as provost for George Mason.”

Wu was responsible for annual financial resources of more than $100 million in his role as dean at Lehigh. Over 40 percent of Lehigh’s undergraduates major in engineering; about 65 percent of graduate and research programs also are in engineering. Wu oversees 140 tenured, tenure-track and instructional faculty, as well as 170 professional and support staff.

Wu earned a PhD in 1987 and a MS degree in 1985, both in industrial engineering, from Pennsylvania State University. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Tunghai University in Taiwan in 1981. He was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Wu will succeed Peter Stearns, who has served as Mason’s provost since 2000. Stearns has led the university during a period of significant enrollment gains, increases in academic standards and research growth. He helped Mason transition to a new university president and played an active role in the university’s new vision and strategic plan. A prolific author and renowned historian, Stearns will continue to teach at Mason after stepping down as provost.

Mason’s students, faculty and staff are impressive, Wu says. He looks forward to working with them.

“I am thrilled to join the George Mason community and excited about the opportunity to work with President Cabrera and his team,” Wu says. “I admire the great accomplishments by Peter Stearns and am humbled by the big shoes I must now fill.”

Wu’s detailed CV is available at

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