Peter Lennie was officially invested as the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering in a ceremony on Friday, finishing a process that began with the departure of former Dean Thomas LeBlanc to the University of Miami in 2005.
Lennie’s investiture was preceded by a symposium entitled “When Does Interdisciplinary Work Strengthen the Disciplines,” featuring discussion between representatives of the various divisions of the School of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. This symposium, which covered such topics as interdisciplinary work, the role of deans in initiatives between school divisions and other University-related matters, was hosted by Dean of the Faculty at New York University Richard Foley.
This symposium was particularly relevant to Lennie’s investiture because of his focus on improvement in cooperation between members of the faculty.
“Planning for the future of The College is richly challenging,” Lennie said. “It is and must be a shared enterprise, in which key stakeholders with varied needs and interests come together as partners.”
Lennie has been working in his current position since July 1, after being announced as successor to LeBlanc on Jan. 26. His formal investiture completes his return to UR after serving as Dean for Science at NYU. Previous to that position, Lennie was the first Chair of UR’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
In his investiture address, Lennie both highlighted the accomplishments of UR and began to map a plan for his tenure as Dean. He gave mention to UR’s recent accolades in various college ranking publications, but stressed that in order to continue to excel, change must always be made.
“The freedom to determine our own future distinguishes private research universities from almost all others and is extraordinarily precious,” Lennie said. “It puts no ceiling on our ambitions.”
After being introduced by President Joel Seligman, Lennie’s speech also conveyed his realization of the important nature of his new position.
“I have the chance to help shape the future of a member of the world’s most special, and most envied, group of universities: the American research universities,” Lennie said. “The most striking attribute is the uncompromising pursuit of excellence.”
Other faculty members are pleased with Lennie’s investiture, and look forward to working with him in the future.
“I think he is just what we need to build on our achievements of recent years and bring the College to even higher levels of accomplishment,” Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering Richard Waugh said.
The investiture ceremony was followed by a reception for members of the University community, beginning at 5 p.m. in Rush Rhees Library’s Great Hall.
The changes made to the University due to the selection of Lennie as Dean are already beginning, and Lennie intends to extend his influence well into the future.
“Planning for the future of The College is richly challenging,” Lennie said. “The job is made immeasurably easier by the remarkable and diverse talents, and the goodwill, of the people involved: the students, the faculty, and my colleagues in the Deans’ office.” Majarian is a member of the class of 2008.