The Clarkson University Board of Trustees has appointed Marc P. Christensen, PhD, PE to serve as the 17th President of Clarkson University, effective July 1, 2022. Dr. Christensen is currently the dean of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, and a well-regarded leader in photonics research and technology development.
Dr. Christensen will succeed Dr. Anthony G. Collins, who is stepping down as Clarkson’s President at the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year, following 19 years of extraordinary leadership of the institution.
“Clarkson’s Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Marc P. Christensen as our next president,” said Thomas L. Kassouf ’74, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Marc’s passion for innovative teaching, collaborative multidisciplinary research, proven entrepreneurship, successful fundraising and community outreach is an excellent fit for Clarkson. We look forward to welcoming him and his wife, Seema Christensen, to the Clarkson community this summer.”
“We are excited about the selection of Dr. Christensen to lead Clarkson,” noted co-chairs of the Presidential Search Committee, trustees Georgia Keresty ’83 and Sanjeev R. Kulkarni ’84. “The collaborative effort by faculty, student, staff and trustee members of the Search Committee, broadly augmented by inputs from our many constituent communities, has identified a next president well prepared to ensure Clarkson continues to excel beyond its 125 anniversary celebrated this academic year.”
“I am humbled to be selected as the next President of Clarkson University. Clarkson has a long-held reputation for producing some of the sharpest analytic minds in our nation’s history. This storied legacy, combined with the University’s achievements in advancing social mobility and the career trajectories for alumni, affirms Clarkson’s position as a bold leader among higher education institutions. Clarkson knows who it is and why it matters,” said President-Elect Christensen. “Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to connecting with the incredible students, faculty, and staff to listen to their stories and develop an even deeper understanding of what makes Clarkson the remarkable community it is.”
A widely published expert in photonics research that focuses on using light to transmit, process and sense information, Dr. Christensen has coauthored over 100 journal and conference papers and was identified by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a “rising star in microsystems research.” He began his professional career as a technical leader in BDM’s Sensors and Photonics Group, now part of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. In 1997, he cofounded Applied Photonics, a free-space optical interconnection module company that provided hardware demonstrations for multiple DARPA programs. He currently holds 10 U.S. patents.
Dr. Christensen received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University in 1993, his master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Mason University in 1998 and his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from George Mason University in 2001. He also participated in the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education Management Development Program.
After earning his PhD, he joined the SMU faculty in 2002, where he was recognized for innovative teaching and outstanding research. He rose through the faculty ranks at SMU and, in 2010, he was selected as the inaugural Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation. He went on to serve as the Department Chair of Electrical Engineering and has been the Dean of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering for the past nine years.
Clarkson President Tony Collins said, “In addition to his experiences in industry, with federal agencies and as an entrepreneur, Marc Christensen’s 20-year commitment to SMU bodes well for the greater Clarkson community. It is very evident that he values relationships and rallying strategic partnerships to build long-term impact on the issues that matter to university stakeholders. Clarkson will have a dynamic future ahead under Dr. Christensen’s leadership.”
The University community looks forward to fully welcoming the next President and his wife, Seema, to the Clarkson community later this summer, when they will take up residence in Foster House. With industry experience in engineering, Seema is now a ceramics artist looking forward to opening a new studio. They are also the proud parents of Asha Christensen, a senior in college majoring in economics and philosophy at the University of Toronto, and Priya Christensen, also a graduate of the University of Toronto, who is now pursuing graduate studies in molecular and cell biology at the University of Texas at Dallas.
For more information about President-Elect Christensen and the search for the 17th president, go to: http://www.clarkson.edu/presidential-search.