Since becoming president of Carnegie Mellon University in 1997, Jared L. Cohon has guided all of the university’s global expansion efforts, and has successfully led the university on a variety of fronts, including diversity, technology, international education, and economic development in Southwest Pennsylvania.
Ranked 27th in the world by the London Times Higher Education Supplement, Carnegie Mellon is one of the largest and fastest-growing universities in terms of global expansion. Through Cohon’s leadership, the university has grown from having no international programs to offering 16 degree programs in 12 countries. Today, more than 30 percent of Carnegie Mellon students are international, hailing from more than 100 countries outside the United States.
Before joining Carnegie Mellon, Cohon served as dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University from 1992 to 1997. He started his teaching and research career in 1973 at Johns Hopkins University, where he was a faculty member in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering for 19 years. He also served as Assistant and Associate Dean of Engineering and Vice Provost for Research at Johns Hopkins. Cohon earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 and a PhD in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973.
An author, coauthor, or editor of one book and more than 80 professional publications, Cohon is an expert on environmental and water resource systems analysis, an interdisciplinary field that combines engineering, economics, and applied mathematics. He has worked on water resource problems in the United States, South America, and Asia and on energy facility siting, including nuclear waste shipping and storage. In addition to his academic experience, he served in 1977 and 1978 as a legislative assistant for energy and the environment to the late Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan, United States Senator from New York. President Bill Clinton appointed Cohon to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board in 1995 and appointed him as chairman in 1997.
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Cohon to the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and in 2009 he was reappointed by President Barack Obama. He has served as chairman of the council’s Senior Advisory Committee on Academia and Policy Research and was recently named vice chair of the Advisory Council’s Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force. The task force will advise Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on ways to bolster national security by maximizing resource efficiency.
During Cohon’s presidency, Carnegie Mellon has continued along its trajectory of innovation and growth. Some of his priorities have included undergraduate education, and new interdisciplinary initiatives in information technology, biotechnology, environment, and the fine arts and humanities.