A New Definition of Excellence:
Provost David Wu Begins Work Today

Posted: July 1, 2014 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: July 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm

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By Michele McDonald

David Wu

S. David Wu

A new era begins this week at George Mason University. S. David Wu, a veteran administrator and engineering professor, joins the university as its new provost and executive vice president at a crucial point in George Mason’s history―year one of a 10-year strategic plan.

Wu will play a critical role in guiding Mason’s next steps that are designed to not only produce 100,000 career-ready graduates by 2024, but to raise its profile as a world-class university as well.

Wu looks forward to the challenge of guiding the academic plans of Virginia’s largest public university as it sets new standards in how to combine experiential and integrative learning throughout a curriculum. “My administrative leadership has been complemented by my passion for creating student-centric, socially relevant and intellectually rigorous interdisciplinary programs,” says the former dean of the prestigious P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University.

Mason’s role as a global leader made significant strides this year. The university opened a campus in Songdo, Korea, and launched a joint venture with INTO University Partnerships to increase the international student population at Mason. The first INTO students begin classes in August.

Both Korea and INTO are part of Mason’s commitment to providing accessible pathways for students, whether these students come from across the world or from the local community college. The end result is to give all Mason graduates an education they can take into the world to pursue meaningful lives and careers. Wu shares this commitment—it’s one reason why he came to Mason.

While at Lehigh, Wu successfully started several multidisciplinary programs, forged strategic partnerships, supported groundbreaking research and encouraged students to seek global experience as part of their studies.

“My passion is to nurture students into multidimensional thinkers and leaders with keen judgment, humility and a confidence to think outside the box,” he says. “I believe in shaping an educational community that allows young adults to grow into innovators and inspiring leaders with the ability to make meaningful contributions that impact our lives.”

And the educational experience means more than reading books, taking classes and having internships. Building a life of vitality, resource and resilience also is part of Mason Nation. An avid runner, tennis player and supporter of mind-body connectedness, Wu will be an advocate for Mason as a Well-Being University.

Wu spent more than 27 years at Lehigh, including a decade as dean of the engineering school. He earned a PhD in 1987 and an MS degree in 1985, both in industrial engineering, from Pennsylvania State University. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Tunghai University in Taiwan in 1981.

Wu succeeds Peter N. Stearns, who served as Mason’s provost from Jan. 1, 2000, to June 30, 2014. Stearns led the university during a period of significant enrollment gains, increases in academic standards and research growth. He helped Mason transition to a new university president and played an active role in the creation of a vision for the university, as well as a 10-year strategic plan. A prolific author and renowned historian, Stearns will continue to teach at Mason.

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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