Rodney Priestley, the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and vice dean for innovation at Princeton University in New Jersey, has been named dean of the university’s Graduate School, effective June 1. Nearly 3,000 students are enrolled in Graduate School pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in 42 departments and programs.
“Rod Priestley is a superb scholar, a dedicated teacher, and a proven administrator,” said Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “He cares deeply about graduate students and graduate education, and I am confident that he will lead Princeton’s Graduate School with distinction.”
Dr. Priestley joined the Princeton faculty as an assistant professor in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in Paris. He became an associate professor in 2015 and a full professor in 2019. Professor Priestley has performed groundbreaking fundamental research in materials science, facilitated the development and translation of intellectual property derived from that research into products and enterprises, and expanded Princeton’s ties with industry, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, alumni, and other partners.
“My interest in becoming dean of Princeton’s Graduate School originates with my own personal experience of graduate school,” Professor Priestley said. “The mentorship, encouragement, and support I received has enabled every goal I have reached throughout my career. My advisers’ belief in me has always inspired me to give back to others to whatever extent possible. I’m really, really excited to be able to serve a wide range of graduate students, and hopefully impact their graduate education in a manner that they have an experience that’s as good as the one that I did.”
Priestley earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois.