Subra Suresh

President, Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Born in Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Dr. Subra Suresh is one of the most distinguished educators in the United States.

Having completed his bachelor of technology degree from Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) in 1977, he migrated to the US in 1979. He then received his master’s degree from Iowa State University and went on to complete his doctoral thesis from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in fall of 1981. Following his postdoctoral research at University of California (Berkeley), and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he joined the faculty of professor in 1989. He returned to MIT as the R.P. Simmons Professor of Material Science and Engineering, as well serving as the head from 2000-2006.

A natural born leader, Suresh administered the creation of state-of-the-art laboratories, MIT Transportation Initiative and the Center for Computational Engineering. He led MIT’s efforts in establishing the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Center; and oversaw the recruitment of a record number of women faculty members in the engineering department.

After becoming president of Carnegie Mellow in 2013, he has spearheaded the establishment of several major technology-enhanced learning within the university and around the globe. These include: The Presidential Fellowships and Scholarships Program; the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship; the Simon Initiative to enhance the impact of technology-enhanced learning within the university and around the globe; and the ‘BrainHub’ to further CMU’s interdisciplinary strengths to advance brain research.

Suresh is the first and only university president and one of only 19 Americans to be elected to all three National Academies – the National Academy of Engineering (2002), the National Academy of Sciences (2002) and the National Academy of Medicine (2013). Further, he is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Impressively, he has been elected to 14 academies based in the US, India, China, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Spain. As an elected fellow or honorary member, he has been a part of all major materials research societies in the United States and India. He holds 11 honorary doctorate degrees from institutions in the US, India, England, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and China.

Suresh was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate as the director of the National Science Foundation in September, 2010. He supervised this $7 billion independent federal agency and led the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education.

Suresh is as decorated as ingenious. In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian honors, by the President of India. His alma mater, IIT Madras, recognized him as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1997 and bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate degree at its 50th Convocation held in 2013, at which he was the Chief Guest of Honor. Closer to home, MIT’s Technology Review magazine enlisted him as a “Top 10” researcher whose work will “have a significant impact on business, medicine or culture”. His scholarly research has led him to win several more accolades. These include: the 2015 Industrial Research Institute Medal; the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from the Franklin Institute; the 2012 R.F. Mehl Award from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society; the 2012 Timoshenko Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the 2011 Nadai Medal; the 2011 General President’s Gold Medal from the Indian National Science Congress; the 2008 Eringen Medal of the Society of Engineering Science; the 2007 European Materials Medal from the Federation of European Materials Societies; and the 2006 Acta Materialia Gold Medal.

Suresh’s expertise is not only exceedingly accomplished in the educational and research fields, but also in the public and private sectors. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Hewlett Packard Inc. (HPI) and of the Battelle Memorial Institute. Additionally, he is a trustee of the Dietrich Foundation, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and a member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council off the Munich-based multinational company, Siemens AG. He formerly served as a director of LORD Corporation and several nonprofit organizations overseas and in the United States.



University, Carnegie Mellon. “Leadership.” Biography – Leadership – Carnegie Mellon University. CMU, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

Roth, Mark. “Pittsburgh’s New Immigrants: CMU President Subra Suresh Makes the Case for Diversity.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. N.p., 03 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

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