On Monday August 19, 2019 Ioannis Miaoulis became the 11th President of Roger Williams University. President Miaoulis brings a deep background in education and community engagement as the President of the Boston Museum of Science and the Dean of the School of Engineering at Tufts University.
During his career, Ioannis (YAH-nis) Miaoulis (Me-OW-lis) has led large-scale efforts to spark passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) among young learners around the world. He has assumed the RWU presidency as it is completing a new $13.8-million laboratories building for the School of Engineering, Computing and Construction Management. And he is coming at an exciting time of transition at RWU, which just named Tim Baxter, a 1983 RWU graduate and current President and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America, as Board of Trustees chair in October.
At the Museum of Science, Miaoulis spearheaded the creation of the National Center for Technological Literacy, which developed K-12 engineering materials that have reached an estimated 200,000 teachers and 18 million students in 50 states and many countries. During his tenure, the museum’s budget doubled and he helped it raise more than $470 million, including a record $50 million gift from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
At age 32, Miaoulis became the youngest-ever dean of what was then the College of Engineering at Tufts University. Working with the faculty, he led the effort to make it a separate School of Engineering. During his tenure as dean, the number of engineering student applications doubled and the number of female undergraduates increased by 30 percent.
Additionally, he significantly increased faculty and student diversity, boosting the proportion of female faculty members from 1 percent to 25 percent. He initiated the first internship program and an entrepreneurial leadership minor at Tufts, reflecting his passion for experiential learning, which is central to RWU’s mission.
On August 19, 2019 Miaoulis became RWU’s 11th President, succeeding President Donald J. Farish, who died in July 2018.
Baxter, co-chair of RWU’s Presidential Search Committee, said, “Ioannis Miaoulis possesses the perfect blend of experience, gained at a top-flight educational institution, and entrepreneurial spirit, which he exhibited at the Museum of Science, Boston. In a rapidly changing higher education environment, that deep knowledge will help RWU build on its established strengths on the Bristol campus and at Rhode Island’s only law school. And his strategic know-how will help RWU to continue developing the innovative programs and workforce training that make University College so vital to the community.”
RWU Trustee Marcia Morris, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said, “President-Designate Miaoulis will be an asset not just for RWU but for all of Rhode Island. He will be a powerful advocate for building on the tremendous array of STEM-related programs at RWU. He is also a big believer in the importance of critical thinking and the role that the liberal arts plays in educating all students. He is a transformative leader with an innate understanding of how to make educational endeavors relevant and fun.”
At Tufts, for example, Miaoulis drew on his love of fishing and cooking – teaching a fluid mechanics class at Tufts from the fish’s point of view and a Gourmet Engineering class in which students cooked in a test kitchen, explored heat transfer and ate their experiments.
Miaoulis said, “RWU has all the ingredients to become a national model for transforming higher education. This University is prepared to build on its proud traditions and set itself apart from the crowd, propelled by its unique mix of liberal arts and professional programs, its top-notch faculty and its hub of innovation in Providence. Distinguished by its commitment to experiential education and community engagement, RWU is ready to prepare all learners to excel in a rapidly changing world – and to tackle the problems that matter most to society.”