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Rob Clark, provost and senior VP for research, to step down in June

January 20, 2021

A national search will begin this spring to find a successor for Clark, who completes a decade-plus tenure as an academic leader at Rochester.

photo of rob clark

Rob Clark, provost and senior vice president for research (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)


Rob Clark, the University of Rochester’s provost and senior vice president for research, has announced his plans to step down from those roles as of June 30, 2021. A nationally recognized engineer and academic administrator, Clark joined the Rochester faculty in 2008, when he was named dean of what was later named the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

He plans to take a leave during the 2021–22 academic year before returning to the Hajim faculty.

In a note to University faculty and staff, University President Sarah Mangelsdorf acknowledged Clark’s work as an academic leader, advisor, and key member of a University-wide effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most recently, Rob has played an important role in the University’s efforts to navigate the COVID pandemic. Along with many dedicated faculty and staff across the institution, Rob helped the University meet this challenge while never losing sight of the importance of our academic mission,” Mangelsdorf said.

“On a personal note, Rob has been a dependable advisor in my first years as president, providing continuity and institutional knowledge. I plan to launch a national search for his replacement, but I am pleased to know that he has offered to continue to be a resource to me.”

Before joining Rochester as dean of what is now the Hajim School, Clark was dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, where he had been a member of the faculty since 1992. At Rochester, he’s credited with increasing the number of engineering faculty, more than doubling student enrollment, and leading a capital campaign that culminated with a naming gift from Rochester engineering graduate Ed Hajim ’58, chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees and the namesake for the school.

In 2013, he was named senior vice president for research, a position he held in addition to the Hajim deanship. In 2016, he succeeded former provost Peter Lennie, and stepped down from his administrative role at Hajim, where he was succeeded by the school’s current dean, Wendi Heinzelman.

As provost and senior vice president, Clark serves as chief academic officer for the institution’s academic and research enterprise. He played roles in the University’s efforts to secure the national AIM Photonics center in Rochester, to establish University resources to support the commercialization of University technology, and to emphasize Rochester’s leadership in data science, including private and state support for the Goergen Institute for Data Science.

On campus, he led efforts to have faculty members participate in Board of Trustees committees, provided support for online and remote learning initiatives, and committed resources to modernizing and providing better access to Rochester’s institutional data resources.

An expert in the sciences of acoustics and in bionanomanufacturing, Clark is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as a fellow of both the Acoustical Society of America and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His awards include the Lindsey Award from the Acoustical Society of America, the National Science Foundation Career Program Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the NASA Group Achievement Award.

He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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