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About Peter Lennie

Peter Lennie, PhD, became the ninth provost of the University of Rochester in 2012. He is also Professor, Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Center for Visual Science, in the School of Arts & Sciences.

Peter Lennie

Prior to becoming provost, Lennie was Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering, having returned to Rochester in 2006 after serving for seven years as Dean for Science and a professor in neural science at NYU. During his previous tenure at Rochester, from 1982 to 1995, Lennie was an associate professor, then full professor of psychology and visual science, and served at different times as director of the Center for Visual Science and dean of academic resources and planning. In 1995, he became the founding chair of Rochester’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

At NYU, Lennie was responsible for the development of programs and departments in the natural sciences as well as interdisciplinary and interschool initiatives in the sciences, including those with the NYU Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Education, and the Tisch School of the Arts.

As a scientist, Provost Lennie's research is aimed at understanding how we see. His work sits at the interface between visual perception and visual physiology, motivated by the idea that visual perception can be explained in terms of underlying neural mechanisms. His research has explored how the brain's visual cortex processes information about the form and color of objects. He is the author of over eighty publications, is an elected fellow of the Optical Society of America, and has twice received a Merit Award from the National Eye Institute. He has served on numerous editorial boards and national committees, including the National Research Council Committee on Vision, and the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences.

A graduate of the University of Hull, England, with a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 1969, Provost Lennie earned his doctoral degree in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge in 1972. He was a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund at Northwestern University from 1972 to 1974, a research fellow at King’s College in Cambridge from 1973 to 1976, and a lecturer in experimental psychology at the University of Sussex from 1976 until he joined the faculty at Rochester in 1982.