Craig B. Arnold, the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Princeton Institute of Materials, has been appointed Princeton University’s vice dean for innovation (VDI). He will begin the role July 1.
Arnold will be the University’s second vice dean for innovation, a role established in 2020 to provide academic leadership for innovation and entrepreneurship activities across campus.
“Craig Arnold exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of Princeton,” said Princeton University Dean for Research Pablo G. Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. “Throughout the University, Craig is recognized for his pioneering research, his visionary leadership of the Princeton Institute of Materials, his entrepreneurship, and his outstanding service on behalf of Princeton.”
Arnold succeeds Rodney Priestley, the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who served as inaugural vice dean for innovation beginning in February 2020. Priestley will become the Dean of the Graduate School on June 1.
“Craig will be building on the extraordinary foundation established by Rodney Priestley during his visionary tenure as inaugural VDI,” Debenedetti said. “What is more, Craig will bring his own experiences, creativity and inspirational leadership to this role.”
The role of the vice dean includes strengthening the University’s capacity to engage with technology investors, industry, entrepreneurs, alumni and other potential partners. The position leads the Princeton Innovation initiative and oversees the University’s efforts to grow Princeton's culture of innovation across disciplines.
“The Vice Dean for Innovation is the University’s representative for all innovation activities, connecting Princeton with external partners in industry, entrepreneurship, government and academia, and ensuring that faculty, students and staff can fulfill their aspirations to innovate in areas spanning research, education and service to humanity,” said Provost Deborah Prentice, Princeton’s Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs. “Craig Arnold brings to this position a wealth of firsthand experience in university innovation and entrepreneurship, and he has a long history of reaching across disciplines and across our campus community.”
As vice dean for innovation, Arnold will join the Office of the Dean for Research (DFR), and work closely with DFR offices including the Office of Technology Licensing, Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations, and the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council.
“It is such an honor to take on this opportunity to build bridges between the different parts of the campus and the external community,” Arnold said. “Princeton is such an incredible place for innovation, and I am thrilled to be able to serve the community and to help people create impact in ways that benefit society.”
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