WWU's science and tech dean plans to retire

Jeff Wright, dean of Western Washington University’s College of Sciences and Technology, will retire at the end of the current school year.

Wright has held his position since 2011. A national search for his successor will begin this fall.

An announcement from the university noted several key advancements the college made during Wright’s tenure.

After WWU secured new funding from the state Legislature, the College of Science and Technology was able to transition several of its engineering technology programs to full-scale engineering ones. It also more than doubled its number of computer-science graduates.

Wright also developed strong regional and statewide advocacy efforts on behalf of the college, new external funding sources, and important industrial collaborations to help students, according to WWU.

“Under Jeff’s leadership, Western’s tradition of excellence in the sciences was not only protected but strengthened with innovative new programs that will enable us to better serve the needs of the state,” WWU President Bruce Shepard said, in a news release.

Prior to his time as a dean at WWU, Wright was hired to create the newest School of Engineering within the University of California system, in Merced, Calif. He served there for 10 years as founding dean.

At the same time, he was appointed as the founding co-director of the CITRIS Institute, an advanced computer science research center based at the University of California, Berkeley.

Wright also served for 20 years on the engineering faculty at Purdue University, including time as assistant and then associate dean of engineering, a professor of civil engineering, and as director of the Indiana Water Resources Research Center.

Wright received his doctorate in geography and environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the department of civil engineering at the University of Washington. As an undergraduate, he attended WWU during his freshman year.


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