Dec. 11, 2007

Distinguished UC Berkeley Dean To Lead Academic Affairs at SMU

DALLAS (SMU) -- Paul W. Ludden, dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley and scholar in environmental biochemistry, has been named provost and vice president for academic affairs at SMU. As the University’s chief academic officer, he will oversee all aspects of academic life, ranging from admissions and faculty development to supervision of SMU’s seven schools, library system, and international programs. He will join SMU in time for the fall 2007 semester.

“Paul Ludden brings exactly the right combination of strengths, skills, and experience to continue SMU’s advancement as one of the premier private universities in the nation,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is an active researcher, he values undergraduate teaching along with graduate education, and he has experience leading academic units in a complex educational setting.”

In accepting the position, Ludden said, “SMU is filled with opportunity. There is a solid foundation of academic achievement, an ambitious plan for obtaining resources to support even more progress academically, and a strong partnership with a city becoming more important globally. SMU has all of the ingredients to fulfill its high aspirations, and I look forward to working with the University community in achieving our goals.” 

A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, Ludden received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Nebraska in 1972 and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977.  After a Rockefeller postdoctoral fellowship at Michigan State University, he served as an assistant professor at the University of California-Riverside. In 1981 he returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he rose to the rank of full professor.

At Wisconsin, he directed the Biochemistry Graduate Program for 14 years and taught in the highly regarded Biocore Program for undergraduates. Continuing his administrative career while pursuing his research interests, he served as assistant chair of the Biochemistry Department and later as executive associate dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, at Wisconsin.

In 2002 Ludden joined UC, Berkeley as dean of the College of Natural Resources and professor of plant and microbial biology.  In addition to his duties as dean, he teaches a first-year seminar and co-teaches the core microbiology course for undergraduate majors.  He carries a concurrent appointment as a faculty member at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He represents Berkeley on several environmental science groups and in the University-Industry Consortium.

Robert H. Dedman Jr., an SMU Board of Trustees member who served on the provost search committee, said, “I was impressed by the caliber of candidates attracted to this position. Dr. Ludden will add strength to what is already an outstanding leadership team at SMU. His appointment positions SMU for accelerated progress as a distinguished private university in a dynamic city with global influence.”

An expert on microbial biochemistry, Ludden with his students has published more than 175 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. His work was chosen by the NIH for a 10-year Merit Award that provides support for his laboratory.

Ludden has received numerous honors, among them the Steenbock Career Development Award, the Romnes Faculty Fellowship, and the WARF Mid-Career Award at Wisconsin, the American Society of Microbiology Graduate Teaching Award, and an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University in Sweden. Elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is a member of the American Society of Plant Biologists and the American Society of Biological Chemists.

His contributions to the profession include serving as panel manager for the USDA Competitive Grants Panel; as co-chair of the Board of Examiners for the Graduate Record Examination in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; and as a member of the NIH Microbial Physiology and Genetics Study Section. Ludden has served on numerous other university, government and business advisory boards and panels.

Ludden and his wife, Linda, have two grown children. She works as a nurse helping low-income elderly patients to maintain their independence.  

Ludden’s appointment as provost ends a nationwide search.  President Turner expressed appreciation to the University’s search committee, led by Cox School of Business Dean Al Niemi as chair and Biological Sciences Department Chair Larry Ruben of Dedman College as vice chair of the committee.

“In addition to his outstanding academic background, Dr. Ludden possesses strong interpersonal skills and is a consensus-builder,” Niemi said.  “These are important qualities not only in leading the academic enterprise, but also in representing SMU’s academic progress and potential externally.”

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