S. David Wu, PhD
S. David Wu, PhD, was appointed Baruch College’s eighth president on February 3, 2020. He was selected by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York following a nationwide search, becoming the first Asian American to lead a CUNY college. He began his tenure on July 1.
Dr. Wu joins Baruch at an auspicious time as the College develops new and responsive models for teaching, research, student services, and campus safety in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. To that end, President Wu established the Task Force for the Future which will harness lessons learned from the pandemic and draw on Baruch’s signature creativity and innovation to lead a paradigm shift in public higher education.
A New Era for Baruch and Higher Education
In assuming the presidency, Dr. Wu has said that Baruch’s identity and characteristics stand out from the norms in higher education. Over the past decade, the College has experienced an era of historic growth in its facilities, degree offerings, global reach, and student support services. It has earned strong recognition in regional and national rankings, as well as praise in the news media for providing excellent academics at an affordable price. Baruch’s success in this arena is central to Dr. Wu’s thinking about the College as both a private good—one that advances our students’ personal and career success—and a public good, creating much needed social change, innovation, and economic prosperity for our city, and our world.
As he leads Baruch into a new era, Dr. Wu’s aim is to challenge higher education isomorphism—the gravitational pull toward status quo and stagnation, rather than change and innovation—and expand Baruch’s national reach. The College already offers a rare amalgam of academic achievement and upward mobility for diverse students from all echelons of society. With national rankings and accolades affirming what is now a distinctive niche, Baruch could emerge as a new model for higher education: Institutions that insist on academic excellence at the highest level while concurrently expanding their base to support historically underserved students in such a rigorous intellectual environment.
A Proven Leader and Outstanding Scholar
Dr. Wu brings to Baruch a track record of bold and visionary higher education leadership. From 2014 until his appointment at Baruch, he served as provost and executive vice president of George Mason University. Under his leadership, Virginia’s largest public research university experienced historic growth in innovative academic programs, embraced multi-disciplinary collaboration, and increased student diversity and academic outcomes. Mason also emerged as a top-tier national research institution-the youngest university to earn Carnegie research-one (R1) designation.
For more than a decade prior to Mason, Dr. Wu was dean and Iacocca Professor of the Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University where he had been a member of the faculty since 1987. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has served as a long-term member of the board of Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering in addition to various national and international panels and advisory boards, including with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Science Foundation of Ireland, the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, and the Science & Engineering Research Council of Singapore.
Dr. Wu holds MS and PhD degrees from Pennsylvania State University. An accomplished scholar in systems engineering and operations research, he has published extensively in areas such as game theory, optimization, and econometrics. His research has been supported by the NSF, the Department of Defense, and Sandia National Laboratories. He has served as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on more than $7.5 million of competitively awarded research grants. Dr. Wu’s field work in data science and statistical leading indicators has been implemented or tested at firms such as Intel, HP, and IBM. The intellectual property developed from his research, Leading Indicator Forecasting Engine (LIFE), was third-party marketed for licensing. Dr. Wu also worked with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to study policy and economic impact in large urban environments. A fellow of IISE, Dr. Wu has served as an editor or editorial board member on numerous journals in his field.
Homecoming to New York City
Dr. Wu came to the U.S. from his native Taiwan as an international student. He vividly recalls arriving to New York City some 40 years ago-strolling around the City amazed and excited at all promise it holds. He and his wife married then in New York, and later his son and daughter both moved to the city to establish careers and families. He has said that joining Baruch feels very much like his homecoming.