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Lerman named provost at George Washington University

Praised as a ‘remarkable friend and servant of MIT,’ he will leave the Institute after more than 40 years
MIT Vice Chancellor and Dean for Graduate Education Steven R. Lerman has been named provost at The George Washington University.
MIT Vice Chancellor and Dean for Graduate Education Steven R. Lerman has been named provost at The George Washington University.
Photo: Donna Coveney

MIT Vice Chancellor and Dean for Graduate Education Steven R. Lerman '72, SM '73, PhD '75 has been named George Washington University’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, GW President Steven Knapp announced on Wednesday. Lerman is scheduled to take up his new responsibilities on July 1.

"Dr. Lerman understands George Washington's aspirations, its unique position in Washington and the world, and its extraordinary opportunities,” Knapp said in a statement. “He has a strong record of engaging students and working collaboratively and effectively with colleagues; those skills will help us build an ever stronger faculty, raise the university's stature, and continue to enhance the academic experience of our students."

A loyal and enthusiastic member of the MIT community for more than 40 years, Lerman has built a reputation for fresh thinking, technical knowledge, skillful management and great prowess in pulling various stakeholders together to advance MIT goals. From leading Project Athena to chairing the committee on MIT OpenCourseWare and coordinating the work of the Task Force for Institute-wide Planning, Lerman has been a force for innovation at MIT, his friends and colleagues said.

MIT President Susan Hockfield said, “With integrity, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and unfailing good cheer, Steve Lerman has lived the life of MIT in every dimension — as an undergraduate and graduate student, as a professor, as chair of the faculty, as a housemaster, as dean for graduate education, as vice chancellor, and as leader of vital educational and research initiatives, from Project Athena and the Singapore-MIT Alliance to the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives and the iLabs program. We are very sorry to lose this remarkable friend and servant of MIT.”

Lerman, who first arrived at MIT as a freshman in 1969 and who has effectively been here ever since, said the decision to leave the Institute was a difficult one, but that the time had come for new challenges.

“As much as I have loved being both a student and a professor here, the opportunity to serve in a leadership role at George Washington was an opportunity that I found extraordinarily compelling. Any success I am fortunate to have there will be because of what I have learned from all the experiences I was privileged to have here,” he said.

In addition to his new administrative duties at GW, Lerman will serve as the A. James Clark Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. As at MIT, Lerman and his wife, Lori, will live on campus.

“I look forward to getting to know the entire GW community over the coming months and years. My wife Lori and I will live on the Mount Vernon campus, and we plan to participate fully in the intellectual and social life of the community,” he said.

Lerman has authored more than 50 publications, including two books. He has held several chairs at MIT and has been recognized with awards for his teaching, including the chair he now holds. His department and the Graduate Student Council have both honored him for excellence in teaching. He recently was given the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students Advisor of the Year award.

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