Thomas C. Katsouleas, a leading plasma scientist and engineer with deep academic roots in teaching and research, has been appointed the 16th president of the University of Connecticut, effective Aug. 1. The Feb. 5 announcement was made after a unanimous confirmation vote by UConn’s Board of Trustees following a six-month national search.
Currently executive vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, Katsouleas comes to Connecticut with the endorsement of Gov. Ned Lamont, who welcomed Katsouleas at the Tuesday press conference.
“UConn is a vital piece of Connecticut’s economic engine and I look forward to working with Tom in ensuring that the university and our state’s economic development team, large corporations, small businesses, and startups alike are working together to help develop a pipeline of talent and an environment that supports business development and economic growth,” Lamont said.
Prior to joining UVA in 2015, Katsouleas served for seven years at Duke University as the dean of the Pratt School of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering.
He was among more than 200 applicants for the UConn position. President Susan Herbst is leaving this summer when her contract ends after eight years in the job.
Katsouleas expects to focus on supporting innovation, enhancing the university’s connections with alumni and philanthropic supporters and capitalizing on the state’s investments to expand UConn’s impact on the economy and innovation.
“One of my highest priorities is to grow research at UConn,” he said. “That means making strategic investments in faculty and facilities with the goal of doubling research here over the next seven to 10 years.
“Good public universities are pillars supporting their state – serving its needs and supporting its economy,” he said. “Great flagship universities with their satellite campuses and partners, including state and community colleges, are the crown jewels of the state – uplifting the mind and spirit not just of their own students, but of the surrounding communities and the entire state.”
Soon to oversee UConn’s home in Storrs as well as several other campuses, including in Stamford, Katsouleas has made himself known at his past universities in part by traveling around on a personalized skateboard.
“I look forward to bringing to the UConn presidency an ambitious agenda, a lot of energy and my skateboard,” he said.