Jayathi Y. Murthy, a national leader in higher education engineering teaching, research and service, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, on Friday Sept. 9, officially began her service as Oregon State University’s 16th president.
Murthy served until August as the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. She was selected by the Oregon State Board of Trustees in June to succeed Becky Johnson, who served as interim president since May 1, 2021.
Murthy assumes leadership of Oregon State at a time of great momentum within Oregon’s largest university that has seen OSU set records in enrollment, research and philanthropy, and annually graduate more than 7,400 students.
“I am delighted to join this amazing university and Beaver Nation,” Murthy said. “I am also very proud to be a new Oregonian.
“As a leader, an educator, a researcher and as person, I am deeply committed to advancing the access that our state provides to high-quality public higher education throughout Oregon,” she said. “And I am committed to contribute to success for all students and learners throughout life and career.”
Murthy said that contributing to and building upon OSU’s momentum, excellence and service impact as Oregon’s statewide university is a top priority.
“Oregon State’s incredible contributions in Oregon, nationally and globally, and its commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusive excellence will continue to grow,” she said. “We will work hard to assure that every member of the OSU community feels valued and is successful.”
Murthy stressed that students and learners of all ages are at the heart of Oregon State.
“Advancing student success and graduation rates are top priorities for me. The university also will grow its already incredible contributions as a globally recognized research university by expanding research investments; growing research collaboration with other universities, and with state and federal agencies; and advancing university partnerships with industry, business leaders and stakeholders across Oregon and beyond the state.”
Murthy said OSU will continue to grow its contributions to community service and learning opportunities through OSU Extension programs, including 4-H.
“OSU faculty and staff provide valuable community engagement services daily for Oregonians of all ages,” she said. “In times of need, OSU will continue to assist local communities, for example, as we have during the pandemic and with wildfire preparedness and response.”
Kirk Schueler, chair of OSU’s board of trustees, welcomed Murthy as president.
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr., Murthy to Oregon and Oregon State University,” Schueler said. “She will ably advance teaching, research, creative scholarship and the university’s Extension and engagement mission. And her leadership and the work of so many throughout OSU will extend the university’s contributions and impact across Oregon, the nation and world.”
Murthy, 64, was the first woman dean at UCLA’s engineering school. During her tenure, she made expanding access to a UCLA engineering education a top priority. This included deepening relationships with local community colleges, increasing outreach to underrepresented minority groups and easing the transition for transfer students.
Under Murthy’s leadership at UCLA, the engineering school focused on growth in areas critical to the 21st century, including engineering in medicine and biology; sustainable and resilient urban systems; artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science; cybersecurity and the future internet; robotics and cyberphysical systems; as well as advanced materials and manufacturing.
Before joining UCLA, Murthy held positions at University of Texas at Austin, Purdue University, Carnegie Mellon University and Arizona State University. From 1988 to 1998, she worked at New Hampshire-based Fluent, Inc., a developer and vendor of the world’s most widely used computational fluid dynamics software. She led the development of algorithms and software that still form the core of the company’s products.
Murthy received a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington State University and a bachelor’s of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
Murthy is married to Sanjay Mathur, an aerospace engineer.