A Message from SUNY Poly Acting President Tod A. Laursen

A Message from SUNY Poly Acting President Tod A. Laursen

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - 14:30
News Releases
Dr. Tod Laursen

Dear Members of the SUNY Poly Community:

I write with great excitement to share with you my appointment by the SUNY Board of Trustees as SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Acting President, effective immediately. I am grateful to Chancellor Malatras and the SUNY Board of Trustees for this opportunity, and I am excited to serve SUNY Poly during this transformational time. 

As the SUNY System Provost, I have admired and respected SUNY Poly’s accomplishments, and I feel fortunate and motivated to join you. I am committed to connecting with as many community members as I can, as soon as I can, and to working collaboratively with you as we prepare our Utica and Albany campuses for the spring semester.     

By way of background, I trained as a mechanical engineer and served as a faculty member in civil, mechanical, and biomedical engineering departments at Duke University, Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates, and most recently at the University at Buffalo. My research area is computational mechanics, which aims to develop new simulation technologies for solid and fluid mechanics and relies on interdisciplinary interaction between engineering scientists, computer scientists, and applied mathematicians, among others. 

After serving for eighteen years at Duke University, I moved to Abu Dhabi and served as the founding president of Khalifa University (KU). At KU, we developed cutting-edge technological programs and an economic development agenda that featured many innovative industrial partnerships in an emerging economy, leading to the university’s ascension to a top 300 ranking worldwide within a ten-year period.

It is with these experiences in hand that I feel well prepared to lead SUNY Poly to reach its full potential as an innovation and education hub. I am particularly excited to work closely with our students and to return to where my heart is: leading a campus community. 

At the same time, Chancellor Malatras has designated Dr. Fatemeh (“Shadi”) Shahedipour-Sandvik to serve as SUNY Provost-in-Charge. I am deeply appreciative to Shadi for her assumption of this role and have pledged to do all I can to support her through this transition. 

There is a final point I wish to emphasize. My approach to the leadership of SUNY Poly will be “all in.” The SUNY Poly presidency will be my full-time and exclusive endeavor. I am eager to engage with you as soon as possible and will start next week when my wife, Jennifer, and I will be in Utica to learn more about our new community. 

Until then, I wish you the happiest of new years, and I hope that this holiday season has brought joy, safety, and good health.

Tod A. Laursen, Ph.D.
Acting President

SUNY Polytechnic Institute