SINGAPORE: Professor Subra Suresh will step down as president of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) at the end of December after five years at the helm, the university announced on Monday (Jun 6).
A search committee will be launched shortly to identify his successor, said Ms Goh Swee Chen, chair of the NTU Board of Trustees.
In an email message to the NTU community, Prof Suresh said he and his wife will return to the United States "sooner than we had originally envisioned".
"The lingering effects of a global pandemic have precluded my immediate and close-knit family, like so many others separated across continents, from coming together over a protracted time, even for significant family life events," he wrote.
“The much-anticipated recent news of the arrival of our first grandchild later this year and a strong desire to be in closer geographical proximity as a family have convinced my wife Mary and me to return to the United States sooner than we had originally envisioned."
Prof Suresh added that he takes “great pride” in the accomplishments of NTU’s faculty, staff, students and leadership team.
“I will leave knowing that NTU is a world leader taking its rightful place among the top universities of the world. Together, we have strengthened NTU’s foundation which my successor will be able to build on,” he said.
Prof Suresh is the fourth president of NTU since its founding in 1991, and the inaugural holder of the Distinguished University Professorship, the highest faculty rank at the university.
He joined NTU from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, where he was president from 2013 to 2017.
Prior to that, he served as the 13th president of the National Science Foundation from October 2010, a role to which he was nominated by former president Barack Obama. Prof Suresh was also the first Asian-born American to hold the position.
Since he started his tenure at NTU in January 2018, Prof Suresh oversaw several university initiatives. These include the NTU 2025 Strategic Plan to chart its next phase of growth, the creation of numerous postdoctoral fellowships and Chair professorships, as well as the university’s first interdisciplinary school of engineering and science.
He has also been awarded 19 honorary doctorates, seven of which were conferred on him during his tenure as NTU president, said the university.
Ms Goh added that Prof Suresh had “further established” NTU as a top global university by broadening affiliations and expanding collaborations with major academic institutions and industry players internationally.
“Under his leadership, Subra and his team introduced curriculum innovations and digital technologies, offering a top-quality education to our students. NTU has made progress over the last three decades and Subra’s vision for higher learning will continue this momentum,” she said.