Alexis Abramson to be next dean of Thayer

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 4/1/19 10:42am

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Alexis Abramson, a Case Western Reserve University professor, will be the next dean of Thayer. (Hilary Bovay/Courtesy of the Office of Communications) 

For the second time in its 150-year history, the Thayer School of Engineering will be led by a woman. The College announced today that Alexis Abramson, a Case Western Reserve University engineering professor and former Department of Energy scientist, will become dean of the school on June 17.

Abramson replaces Laura Ray, who served as interim dean of the school starting in the fall of 2018 when then-dean Joseph Helble became College provost.

A mechanical engineer specializing in sustainable energy technology, Abramson has been on the faculty of Case Western since 2003, and since 2013 has served as director and co-director of the Great Lakes Institute, a program at Case Western that focuses on energy sustainability. From 2011 to 2013, Abramson worked for the Department of Energy as chief scientist and manager of the Emerging Technologies Team under the Obama administration. Since 2018, she has served as an advisor to Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an energy innovation program launched by Bill Gates to combat climate change.

Abramson’s appointment follows a series of major developments at Thayer, as the engineering school — which shares the west end of campus with the department of computer science, the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship and the Arthur L. Irving Institute of Energy and Society — undergoes a $200 million physical expansion that began in December. 

Abramson’s selection comes as Thayer has in recent years become a leader in educating female engineers. In 2016, Thayer became the first research institution to award more engineering bachelor’s degrees to women than men. The first woman dean of Thayer, Elsa Garmire, served in that role from 1995 to 1997. 

Abramson was selected by a 12-person search committee chaired by Thayer professor Eric Fossum. 

A full story will be published in the near future.

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