University of Rochester

Educational Leader Named Provost

UNIVERSITY FAMILY: Kuncl and his wife, Nancy, plan to live in a University owned residence that traditionally has been the provost's residence, where they hope to renew a tradition of holding faculty events and celebrations.

A groundbreaking neuroscientist, a nationally known educational leader, and a well-regarded vocalist, Ralph Kuncl recognized a kinship with Rochester long before he was named Rochester’s new provost this spring.

“As a musician, I knew the Eastman School was a gem,” Kuncl says. “From my involvement in national associations, I knew of the reformation of the College’s curriculum with its cluster approach, the Center for Entrepreneurship, and the strong research profile of the University for its small size among its leading peers.

“And as a neuroscientist, I was well aware that the Rochester neurology and neuroscience programs were preeminent in the country. I knew the work of many of these colleagues and admired them from afar.”

Kuncl, currently the provost at Bryn Mawr College, will soon get to know his Rochester colleagues much better as he begins his tenure as the University’s chief academic officer in August. As provost, he will have responsibility for overseeing teaching, research, and supporting services for Rochester’s six schools as well as academic activities across the University.

He succeeds Charles E. Phelps, who is stepping down after 13 years as provost.

Kuncl, who earned both his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Chicago, says his range of academic, intellectual, and avocational interests will give him a broad perspective and help him build bridges across the University as he helps guide Rochester into the future.

After a distinctive 20-year career at Johns Hopkins University, where he was a professor of neurology, he was named the first vice provost for undergraduate education at Hopkins in 2002.

At Bryn Mawr, he helped create new interdisciplinary tracks, minors, and majors, and nearly tripled the institution’s federal research grant support, and created a method for reassessing the college’s strategic plan as part of a regional reaccreditation.

—Scott Hauser