I am writing to offer a few personal words, following the announcement from President Bollinger, and associated Columbia News article, that I will complete my service as University Provost on June 30.
My decision to step away from university administration at Columbia was not an easy one, as I have found the past 10 years to be rewarding in countless ways. The opportunity to lead Columbia Engineering during an era of intellectual and physical transformation, recruiting and supporting an exceptional faculty and student body, including a historic number of female faculty and students, as well as an expansion and renewal of our many research and teaching spaces and programs, gives me enormous pride. The guiding vision of Columbia Engineering for Humanity captures our unique strengths in engineering and the many collaborations across this premier university. When President Bollinger asked me to serve as Provost, I was hesitant to give up a job I loved, but I believed strongly in advancing Columbia’s unique capacity to engage in world-class scholarship with real-world impact. It has been an honor to serve our faculty and students in this role.
As Provost, it has been a privilege to recruit and onboard so many deans and leaders and to work with you to propel the excellence of our faculty and academic programs. This vantage point has allowed me to see first-hand the exceptional nature of our faculty and student talent, the innovative approaches across educational programs, and our strengths in discovery and in translation of new ideas to impact. It has been inspiring to champion the aspirations of our deans as they boldly chart the future of their schools while leveraging cross-disciplinary opportunities across the university. The coming years will surely see Columbia’s collective impact on wide-ranging and increasingly intersecting fields – from climate and sustainability, to health and medicine, to equity and social justice, to democracy, to technology, and beyond. Indeed, we are fortunate that our mission attracts amazing students across diverse disciplines – drawn here to learn and grow, and to bring their talent and optimism to shape the future.
Over these past 10 years, I have enjoyed working alongside incredible faculty, students, and staff from across the University – true citizens of this great institution who are so deeply committed to our mission and vision. I extend my warmest thanks to all of you for your partnership and support throughout my tenure as Dean of Columbia Engineering and as University Provost. I look forward to all that lies ahead in what promises to be a transformative period for Columbia and for higher education more generally.
Mary C. Boyce
Professor of Mechanical Engineering