Campus News

April 12, 2010

Emory College names new dean

Robin Forman

Robin Forman, a mathematics scholar who has worked steadily to enhance the student experience both inside and outside the classroom as dean of undergraduates at Rice University, has been chosen to serve as the next dean of the Emory College of Arts and Sciences. He will start July 1.

“In a national pool of significant stature, Robin stood out as an academic visionary, with a rare combination of intellectual acuity, administrative accomplishment and a deft human touch to lead the College into the next decade,” says Earl Lewis, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are truly delighted that he has accepted our invitation to join the Emory community.”

Forman has been a member of the Rice faculty since 1987, being named full professor of mathematics in 1999 and serving as chair of the Department of Mathematics from 2001-2005. He was a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University, serving for two years as an instructor at MIT before going to Rice.

As Rice’s first dean of undergraduates, he helped create a shared vision for an intellectually, culturally and socially vibrant student experience. Forman led the creation of a Center for Civic Engagement to enhance student involvement in volunteer, internship and research roles with the greater Houston community. He championed the recognition of interdisciplinary minors, which now include computational finance, global health technologies, Jewish studies, energy and water sustainability, and poverty, justice and human capabilities.

He has presided since 2005 over a slow but steady expansion of the undergraduate body, coordinated the opening of two new residential colleges, and helped to ensure that academic and support services are enhanced appropriately for the needs of a growing population.

“I am very excited to be joining the Emory community as Dean of the Emory College of Arts and Sciences,” says Forman. “Emory College, within the context of Emory University, represents a remarkable constellation of resources and opportunities.  I look forward to exploring those opportunities with the faculty and students of the College, with the goals of enhancing the Emory experience for all, and continuing Emory’s ascendance in the ranks of the world’s great universities.”

Forman will also hold the title of Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics designate.  His research, which has been funded by the NSF, NSA and DARPA, focuses on combinatorial methods in topology and geometry.

Among his varied avocational interests are chess, where he has attained the rank of Master; stand-up comedy; and songwriting.  He and his wife, Ann Owens, the executive director of the Houston Grand Opera, have a son, Saul, who is 12.

Forman succeeds Dean Robert A. Paul, a cultural anthropologist and psychoanalyst who served as interim dean and then dean since 2001, leading Emory College in the substantial development of its academic programs and reputation over the past decade.

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