Marc P. Christensen, Ph.D., P.E.

Clarkson University President Marc Christensen
President Marc P. Christensen

The Clarkson University Board of Trustees appointed Marc P. Christensen, Ph.D., P.E. to serve as the 17th President of Clarkson University, effective July 1, 2022.   

President Christensen's passion for innovative teaching, collaborative multidisciplinary research, proven entrepreneurship, successful fundraising and community outreach are in excellent alignment with Clarkson's active community of faculty, staff, students and alumni.

A well-regarded leader in photonics research and technology development, he most recently served as the dean of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas.  

Marc P. Christensen, Ph.D., P.E.
Clarkson University

Dr. Christensen's CV 

A "Rising Star"

Dr. Christensen is globally recognized as one of the nation’s key leaders in mapping photonic technology onto applications used for national security. In 2007, DARPA identified Dr. Christensen as a “rising star in microsystems research” for his development of an adaptive multi-resolution imaging architecture, and selected him to be one of the first of the 24 DARPA Young Faculty Award recipients.

From 1991-1998 he was a staff member and technical leader in BDM’s Sensors and Photonics group (now part of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems). His work ranged from developing optical signal processing and VCSEL-based optical interconnection architectures, to infrared sensor modeling, simulation, and analysis. In 1997, he co-founded Applied Photonics: a free-space optical interconnection module company. His responsibilities included hardware demonstration for the DARPA MTO FAST-Net, VIVACE, and ACTIVE-EYES programs, each of which incorporated precision optics, micro-optoelectronic arrays, and micro-mechanical arrays into large system level demonstrations.

In 2002 he joined Southern Methodist University where he rose through the ranks and served as the Department Chair of Electrical Engineering and Dean of the Lyle School of Engineering. In 2010, he was selected as the inaugural Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation. Dr. Christensen’s research in photonics has focused on solutions using light to transmit, process, and sense information.

Marc and Seema Christensen
Marc and Seema Christensen

Collaboration at SMU

At SMU, he led a number of large multi-institutional collaborations focused on sensing and imaging at resolutions that previously defied quantification. In computational imaging, his research group transitioned an adaptive multi-resolution digital imager with performance surpassing the detector-limited resolution to defense partners.

In analog super-resolution his group demonstrated for the first time an active imaging system with performance surpassing the diffraction limit (6x) of the passive camera system in an uncalibrated uncontrolled 3-D macroscopic environment. In biophotonic sensing, the team demonstrated an unprecedented sensitivity electric field sensor that was orders of magnitude smaller than previous designs, thereby enabling a sensor for nerve action potentials. Most recently, to enable our troops to see around corners, he led a team of researchers from SMU, Harvard, Rice, Northwestern, and Carnegie Mellon, as part of the DARPA REVEAL Program, in prototyping novel indirect imaging architectures.

In 2008, Dr. Christensen was recognized for outstanding research with the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship. In 2011, he was recognized for outstanding and innovative teaching as a recipient of the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

Dr. Christensen has co-authored over 100 journal and conference papers. He holds ten patents spanning the fields of free space optical interconnections and computational imaging.

Dr. Christensen received a B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1993, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from George Mason University in 2001.

He, and his wife Seema Christensen, a ceramics artist, are 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.

“Clarkson has a long-held reputation for producing some of the sharpest analytic minds in our nation’s history," Dr. Christensen has said. "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.” 

About Clarkson University

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. We ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,600+ students across 90+ rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions. Our alumni earn salaries that are among the top 2% in the nation and realize accelerated career growth. One in five already leads as a CEO, senior executive or owner of a company.