After three decades at the University of Chicago — as a professor, vice president for research, and most recently, the provost — physicist Thomas Rosenbaum *82 will be heading to the West Coast to lead another of the nation’s top universities. Last week, Caltech announced that Rosenbaum would become its ninth president in July 2014.


Thomas Rosenbaum *82 (Caltech Photo)

Caltech professor Fiona Harrison and trustees chairman David Lee, writing on behalf of the selection committee, cited Rosenbaum’s contributions to condensed matter physics, his dedication to undergraduate and graduate education, and his collaboration with a major national research laboratory as reasons for his selection to lead the university, which recently was ranked No. 1 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the third consecutive year.

The choice sparked positive comments from Caltech faculty, according to the Los Angeles Times. University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer praised Rosenbaum in a letter to faculty, staff, and students. “I am grateful to Tom for his extraordinary leadership,” he wrote. “In addition to helping guide the University through the financial crisis in a manner that preserved our highest priorities and values, he oversaw an historic expansion of the faculty during the same period.”

Rosenbaum, who attended Harvard as an undergraduate, earned his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1982. He conducted research at Bell Labs during his time in New Jersey and briefly worked at IBM’s Watson Research Center before joining the Chicago faculty in 1983.

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