Laurie Leshin Named President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Laurie Leshin Named President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Laurie Leshin, who left NASA in 2011 for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has been selected as the new President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA.  She will be WPI’s 16th president and the first woman to hold that position in the university’s 150 year history.

Leshin was Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies and the Dee and John Whiteman Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University before joining NASA. She was a member of the Aldridge Commission established by President George W. Bush after his announcement of the Vision for Space Exploration in January 2004. The Commission, chaired by former Secretary of the Air Force Edward “Pete” Aldridge, issued the report “A Journey to Inspire, Innovate and Discover.”

Laurie Leshin.   Photo credit:  WPI website

She was named Deputy Director for Science and Exploration at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2005, and moved to NASA headquarters in 2010 as Deputy Director of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), which was later incorporated into the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.   She left NASA in 2011 to become Dean of the School of Science at RPI.

WPI made the announcement today.  Leshin reports for duty on July 1, the beginning of the university’s academic year, which in this case is also its sesquicentennial (150th) year.

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