Peter de Menocal Named New Science Dean and Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor

Columbia oceanographer and paleoclimatologist Peter B. de Menocal has been appointed Dean of Science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as the Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor, a newly established chair funded by Con Edison.


In his new role as Dean of Science, de Menocal will work closely with the executive committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and with other academic deans while overseeing the academic departments, research centers, institutes, and other major units in the Division of Science’s nine departments. De Menocal joins Sharon Marcus, Dean of Humanities, and Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Sciences, as a divisional dean and leader.


De Menocal’s research focuses on deep-sea sediments as archives of past climate change. He serves on the Columbia faculty of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and as director of the Center for Climate and Life at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. He is also a member of the Earth Institute faculty. De Menocal earned his PhD at Columbia in 1992 and was a research scientist at Lamont before joining the faculty in 1999. He was chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences from 2011 to 2014.


“The world faces real, urgent challenges in climate, human health, and technology innovation, and large research universities should be leading the charge to provide answers,” said de Menocal. “My goal is to help lead this charge for Columbia, to see us attack such big, global problems with resources, discipline, and a sense of purpose. The need for scientific knowledge has never been greater.”


De Menocal was appointed by the executive committee of Columbia’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which consists of David Madigan, executive vice president and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; James J. Valentini, Dean of Columbia College; and Carlos J. Alonso, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science. He will report directly to Madigan.


“The exceptional success Peter has demonstrated as a teacher, scientist, department chair, and center director have prepared him well for taking on these new responsibilities,” Alonso, Madigan and Valentini said in announcing de Menocal’s new position.


The Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professorship furthers the University’s mission for responsible, innovative inquiry. The recently created professorship supports de Menocal’s leadership in energy research.


“Con Edison is very pleased to support Columbia’s critical research in the areas of energy and climate change by funding the Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professorship,” said Frances A. Resheske, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Con Edison. “We applaud the selection of Peter de Menocal to the professorship as he continues his work to help find solutions to protect our planet.”

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