- The first woman dean at UCLA’s engineering school, she also has worked at several top engineering universities and in the private sector.
Indian American Jayathi Y. Murthy has been appointed the 16th president of the Oregon State University, effective Sept. 9. She becomes the first woman of color to lead the state’s largest public university and succeeds Becky Johnson, who has served as the university’s interim president since May 1, 2021, according to a university press release.
Murthy, 64, has served as the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science since January 2016. She is widely known as a national leader in higher education engineering teaching, research and service, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. “Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is a deeply held conviction of mine and is central to my work as an educator and administrator,” Murthy said. “As an engineer, I have often been the only woman in the room since I was 16.”
In the university press release, Murthy praised OSU for its growing national and global research prominence and its contributions to Oregon communities statewide through OSU Extension and engagement programs. “This is the time to think big and do big things. I am confident that OSU can be a national leader in the post-pandemic era.”
The first woman dean at UCLA’s engineering school, she made expanding access to a UCLA engineering education a top priority. She also led the effort to establish Women in Engineering at UCLA – a program that supports the full participation of women in engineering, the OSU press release said. She has also been active in helping raise more than $330 million in philanthropy at the university.
Murthy came to UCLA from the University of Texas at Austin where she was chair of the mechanical engineering department. She also held the Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Memorial Chair in Engineering at the university. Before that, she was a mechanical engineering professor at Purdue University, as well as a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
While at Purdue and the University of Texas, Murthy served as the director of the Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems (PRISM) from 2008 to 2014, a center of excellence supported by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
She began her career at Arizona State University, where she was an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. She then worked at New Hampshire-based Fluent, Inc., a developer and vendor of the world’s most widely used computational fluid dynamics software. She led the development of algorithms and software that still form the core of the company’s products.
She has authored over 330 technical publications. She received a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington State University and a bachelor’s of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where she was named a distinguished alumna in 2012.
She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a foreign fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the recipient of many honors, including the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award in 2016 and the ASME Electronics and Photonic Packaging Division Clock Award.
She is married to Dr. Sanjay Mathur, an aerospace engineer who works at SparkCognition, a firm specializing in artificial intelligence systems and development.