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Luis Proenza

University of Akron


Dr. Luis M. Proenza is chief executive officer of The University of Akron. Under his leadership, the University has financed $620-million in capital construction to completely transform its campus, adding 21 new facilities, 18 major renovations and additions and 34 acres of new green space, thereby becoming one of the most attractive metropolitan campuses in the nation. Dr. Proenza also led community efforts to create two key enterprises: a University Park Alliance that is revitalizing a 50-block area surrounding its campus, and the $200-million Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, a partnership with three area hospitals and a medical school to establish Akron as a center for biomaterials and biomedicine. These and other initiatives have distinguished the University nationally and internationally and have made UA a recognized national model for technology commercialization, economic development, and corporate and community partnerships.
Dr. Proenza now serves on the executive committee for the Council on Competitiveness as well as its Manufacturing Competitiveness Steering Committee. He also chairs its Regional Leadership Institute Steering Committee. Recently, Dr. Proenza was appointed to the Council of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academies and to the Technology Innovation Program Advisory Board for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of the States Science and Technology. 

Prior to his appointment at Akron, Dr. Proenza was Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Purdue University. He also served the University of Alaska first as Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, then as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research.  

Dr. Proenza has been involved in national science and technology policy matters since the 1970s when he was study director of the National Research Council-National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Vision. He also served as the University of Georgia's Liaison for Science and Technology Policy, a member of the National Biotechnology Policy Board, and Advisor for Science and Technology Policy to the Governor of Alaska. In 1992, U.S. President George H. W. Bush appointed Dr. Proenza to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. 

In 2001, President George W. Bush named Dr. Proenza to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the nation's highest-level policy-advisory group for science and technology. Dr. Proenza co-chaired PCAST's committee on Public-Private Partnerships and worked on panels on U.S. Research and Development Investments, Technology Transfer, Alternative Energy, Energy Efficiency and Advanced Manufacturing, Personalized Medicine, Information Technology, and Nanotechnology. In 2004, the Secretary of Energy appointed him chairman of the Science and Mathematics Education Task Force and, later, to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. 

Dr. Proenza earned his B.A. from Emory University (1965), his M.A. from Ohio State University (1966), and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1971).