University of Delaware
Domenico Grasso. Photo by Sally McCay

New provost

Domenico Grasso named next UD provost


1 p.m., Jan. 30, 2013--Domenico Grasso, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College of the University of Vermont, will become the next provost of the University of Delaware, UD President Patrick T. Harker announced today. His appointment will be effective Aug. 15, 2013. 

“Domenico Grasso brings an impressive portfolio of experience, insight and leadership to this post as the University of Delaware’s chief academic officer,” Harker said. “Dr. Grasso’s career has been marked by thoughtful and creative initiatives, reflecting a global viewpoint that impacts all academic disciplines. I look forward to working closely with him as we advance the University on its Path to Prominence.” 

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"I have been deeply impressed with the University of Delaware's faculty, staff, students, and facilities and most importantly its steep trajectory towards being recognized as one of the world's great universities," said Grasso. "I am excited to work in close collaboration with President Harker and join his team, the faculty and the entire Delaware community." 

The provost is responsible for the administration of all programs of instruction, research and service and for facilitating the success of the University’s faculty and students. Reporting to the provost are the deans of the seven colleges, the deputy provost, the vice provost for research, the vice provost for libraries, the vice president for student life, the vice provost for graduate and professional education and the associate provost for administration and enrollment services.  

Nancy Brickhouse has served as interim provost since Tom Apple resigned as provost in June 2012 to become chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She will return to her position as deputy provost. “I am very grateful to Nancy Brickhouse for her strong leadership as interim provost during the search process,” Harker said. 

Domenico Grasso

As vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College at the University of Vermont, Grasso has been working with the UVM faculty building university-wide Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives or “Spires of Excellence” for selected and focused future resource investments. 

Prior to his current position, he served as dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at UVM, which became one of the most successful units on campus, increasing its applications by more than 300 percent, its enrollment by more than 50 percent and its research grant awards by 26 percent. 

Before joining UVM, Grasso was Rosemary Bradford Hewlett Professor at Smith College and founding director of its Picker Engineering Program, the first engineering program at a women’s college and one of the few in a liberal arts college in the United States. The program attracted national and international attention for its design, which bridged traditional boundaries between the sciences and the humanities, with emphasis on the unity of knowledge across all disciplines.

Based on a course developed at Smith, he worked with astronaut Sally Ride to start TOYChallenge, a national program to attract middle school students to consider careers in technology by exciting them about science, engineering and the design process in a way that’s relevant to everyday life.

Grasso served on the faculty of the University of Connecticut, including time as head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the university-wide Environmental Engineering Program. 

He has been a visiting scholar at the University of California-Berkeley, a NATO-CCMS Fellow and an invited technical expert to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, Austria. Grasso also served on a World Bank-funded international team of scholars that established the first environmental engineering program in Argentina and has been a member of advisory boards and panels at Colgate, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, Olin College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the National Academy of Engineering. 

Currently editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Engineering Science, he has served as vice chair of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors and associate editor of Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology

In his research, he studies the ultimate fate of contaminants in the environment and develops new techniques to reduce the risks associated with these contaminants to human health or natural resources. His research has been supported by federal, state and industrial organizations. He is the author of more than 100 journal papers and reports, including four chapters and three books. 

Grasso earned his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, his master of science in civil engineering from Purdue University and his doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Connecticut and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

He is married to Susan Hull Grasso, who is also an engineer, and they have four children, Benjamin, Jacob, Elspeth and Caitlin. 

About the University of Delaware

Tracing its heritage back to 1743, the University of Delaware is a state-assisted, privately controlled institution with an enrollment of more than 17,000 undergraduates and 3,500 graduate students. The University offers degrees in a broad range of disciplines across seven colleges, and is a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution. The University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with very high research activity -- a designation accorded fewer than 3 percent of U.S. colleges and universities.

Photo by Sally McCay, courtesy of the University of Vermont

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