Wright State University has selected its next provost, promoting current dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and founding executive director of the Wright State Research Institute, Sundaram Narayanan.
Narayanan, 48, will assume the role as Wright State’s chief academic and chief operating officer on March 18. He was selected from six finalists following a nationwide search and replaces Steven Angle, who last week was named chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“Dr. Narayanan has a tremendous ability to see how everything fits together,” said Wright State President David R. Hopkins. “In the 18 years he has been at the university, he has proven to be an outstanding teacher, an excellent scholar, a great department chair and a highly successful dean. ”
As a first-generation college student, Narayanan said his parents always encouraged him and his sister to pursue higher education, although financial reasons kept them from doing it themselves. Narayanan has earned three advanced degrees since coming to the United States from India at the age of 22, with just two suitcases and $200 to his name.
It is a part of what makes him passionate about Wright State’s mission to provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost for its students, 42 percent of whom are the first in their family to attend college.
“It’s important for us to encourage our kids to get a college degree and really have the world of opportunity open up to them as a result,” he said.
As provost, Narayanan said he will work to ensure the university focuses on student success, invests in recruiting and retaining top faculty, supports innovation and continues to grow in prestige.
Under Narayanan’s leadership, the College of Engineering and Computer Science experienced its highest ever enrollment, its research funding grew 67 percent to $15 million in 2012 and it established Ohio’s only master’s degree program in cyber security. He was also instrumental in creating the Wright State Research Institute, which in five years has grown to more than 75 employees with annual research awards of more than $20 million, according to Wright State.
Narayanan holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India. He is also a licensed engineer.