King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Names Professor Fawwaz T. Ulaby Founding Provost

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University of Michigan Professor Fawwaz T. Ulaby chosen to lead KAUST's academic agenda as KAUST's founding provost.

and to be able to do it at unprecedented speed. It is a daunting challenge, but a challenge worth working day and night for.

His Excellency Minister Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Board of Trustees, today announced the appointment of Professor Fawwaz T. Ulaby as Founding Provost and Executive Vice President of KAUST, a new world-class, graduate-level scientific research university now under development in Saudi Arabia. Professor Ulaby received the unanimous endorsement of KAUST's Academic Leadership Search Committee and is expected to assume his duties on July 1, 2008.

Professor Ulaby, 65, is currently the R. Jamison and Betty Williams Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan in the U.S. Announcing his selection, President-designate Choon Fong Shih noted that Professor Ulaby's unique combination of qualities and academic and scientific experience made him a prominent front runner for the position.

"KAUST is a new university with a globally competitive agenda in academics and research," said Professor Shih. "Professor Ulaby is a distinguished scholar and researcher who brings both experience and vision to help KAUST fulfill its unique mission. I am delighted that he agreed to join my leadership team."

"The most crucial step in the process of building a world-class research university is finding the right people to help bring the vision to life," said Interim President Nadhmi Al-Nasr. "Professor Ulaby has been involved for the past several months in helping us shape various aspects of KAUST, and we are honored he has accepted our offer to serve in this important role as provost."

"I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to play a role in establishing a research university on par with the best universities around the world," Professor Ulaby said, "and to be able to do it at unprecedented speed. It is a daunting challenge, but a challenge worth working day and night for."

"Professor Ulaby's experience as vice president for research in one of the premier U.S. public research universities makes him an excellent appointment to the role of Provost," said Dr. Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "His international outlook and breadth of cultural understanding will bring great value to KAUST."

In his role as provost, Professor Ulaby will be the chief academic officer and senior administrator for KAUST, reporting to President-designate Shih and KAUST's independent Board of Trustees. He will be responsible for overseeing all educational affairs and research activities, including the recruitment of faculty and academic administrators. He will also oversee the chairs of KAUST's four academic divisions: Engineering and Applied Science; Physical, Material, and Earth Sciences; Applied Mathematics and Computational Science; and Biosciences and Bioengineering. KAUST leaders selected the University's initial academic divisions and associated research thrusts for their importance to the existing industries in the Kingdom, the development of future, knowledge-based industries, and the potential regional and international impact.

Administratively, Professor Ulaby will also be responsible for various academic support functions such as libraries, student services, admissions, academic facilities, and academic computing, as well as joint academic programs with sister universities in both the Kingdom and other countries.

Biographical Summary
Born in Damascus, Syria, Professor Ulaby grew up in Lebanon and attended the American University of Beirut, from which he received a B.S. degree in physics on 1964. He later received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in the U.S. in 1968. In between, he worked for one year on aircraft radar systems at the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington.

Since joining the University of Michigan faculty in 1984, Professor Ulaby has directed numerous interdisciplinary, NASA-funded projects aimed at the development of high-resolution satellite radar sensors for mapping Earth's terrestrial environment. He also served as the founding director of the NASA-funded Center for Space Terahertz Technology, whose research was aimed at the development of microelectronic devices and circuits that operate at wavelengths between the infrared and the microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Prior to his current position, Professor Ulaby served a seven-year term as the University of Michigan's vice president for research from 1999-2005, with responsibility for an $800 million research enterprise. Over his academic career, he has supervised more than 100 talented graduate students.

Professor Ulaby is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and he serves on several international scientific boards and commissions.

In recognition for his outstanding teaching and distinguished scholarship, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards from universities, government agencies, and scientific organizations. Among them are the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award (1983), the Kuwait Prize for Applied Science (1987), the NASA Achievement Award (1990), the University of Michigan Regents Medal for Meritorious Service (1996), the IEEE Millennium Medal (2000), the 2002 William Pecora Award, a joint recognition by NASA and the Department of the Interior, and the Distinguished FEA Alumni Award from the American University of Beirut (2006). In 2006, he was selected by the students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as "Professor of the Year," and shortly thereafter, he was awarded the Thomas Edison Medal, the oldest and most coveted medal in the field of electrical and computer engineering in the United States.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is being built in Saudi Arabia as an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom, across the region and around the globe. As an independent, merit-based institution, KAUST will employ many of the best practices from leading research universities and enable top researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological issues. The KAUST global research and education network will support diverse talents, both on its campus and at other premier universities and research institutions, through collaborative research agreements, grants, and student scholarship programs. The core campus, located on more than 36 square kilometers on the Red Sea at Thuwal, is set to open in September 2009. For more information about KAUST, visit

The KAUST Academic Leadership Search Committee (ALSC) advises the KAUST president-designate on the appointment of the University's senior academic leadership team, including the KAUST deans, research center directors, vice president for research and the King Abdullah Professors. The ALSC also advises the president-designate on the search for the senior vice president for finance. All of these searches are currently underway and the appointments will be announced soon.

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