CMU President Subra Suresh Steps Down After Record-Short Tenure

Jun 2, 2017

After four years at the helm of Carnegie Mellon University, president Subra Suresh will step down at the end of the month.

The former National Science Foundation director announced his resignation Thursday in an open letter to the campus community.

“My wife Mary and I have reflected on the long-term commitment needed to implement the university’s strategic plan,” Suresh wrote, “and we feel Carnegie Mellon would be best served now by a president who is ready to make that extended commitment to generating resources and guiding the university toward these objectives.”

CMU president Subra Suresh with President Barack Obama in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. Obama was in town for the White House Frontier's Conference, which Suresh helped to bring to Pittsburgh.
Credit Susan Walsh / AP

He listed a few of his favorite accomplishments, including the expansion of many campus buildings and financial aid programs.

Jim Rohr, chairman of the board of trustees at CMU, said in a statement that Suresh left “an indelible mark on CMU.” He said an interim president would be appointed sometime in the summer.

Suresh was a driving catalyst for CMU’s “Strategic Plan 2025,” which promotes the recruitment of “outstanding and diverse talent,” according to a CMU statement. Traffic 21 Institute deputy executive director Courtney Ehrlichman said Suresh’s commitment to inclusivity made him a great leader.

“I’ve just been incredibly impressed by his values and his moral compass and how he steers the campus community,” Ehrlichman said. “Just reminding us that we’re aligned globally with diversity.”

Ehrlichman referred to Suresh’s campus-wide emails following significant local and international events, calling them “comforting” and a reminder to be “resilient.” She also cited his accomplishments in expanding the campus footprint around the world, including hosting the White House Frontier’s Conference in 2016.

Suresh did not say what he’d be doing after departing CMU. The school has never had a president serve such a short tenure.