University Community

President Gonzalez shares message about Ohio University’s next Executive Vice President and Provost

The following message was shared with the Ohio University community on Monday, April 22, 2024.

Dear University Community, 

It is my absolute pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Don Leo as our next executive vice president and provost, starting July 1, 2024. During our national search, Dr. Leo stood out in an expansive field of remarkably talented candidates. As a proven academic leader, scholar, and educator, he has demonstrated effectiveness in working collaboratively to support students and faculty, which will positively impact the entire University community. He will be a strong partner in advancing our academic mission to meet the needs of current and future students. I look forward to working alongside him to advance our dynamic strategies. 

Dr. Leo, who most recently served as the first dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA), is a professor of mechanical engineering whose higher education career spans over 25 years. During his tenure as dean, engineering enrollment at UGA grew fourfold to over 2,700 students, research activity increased significantly, and the college developed numerous partnerships and outreach activities to enhance community engagement. 

Previously, he served as associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering and vice president and executive director of the National Capital Region operations, also at Virginia Tech. In conjunction with his position at Virginia Tech, Leo served as a program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a unit of the Department of Defense, where he created programs in the field of biologically inspired materials and systems and managed a portfolio of approximately $50 million in interdisciplinary research.

Dr. Leo’s research focuses on smart materials and he has served as principal investigator on 50 research grants and contracts with approximately $12 million in extramural funding. 

He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Buffalo, and a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Sayrs for her service as Executive Vice President and Provost over the past four years. During her tenure, she oversaw the successful transition of our general education program from tiers to BRICKS, reimagined our student success services model through the development of the ACE, and created efficiencies through the implementation of a system-wide approach to regional higher education. I wish her the very best in her next chapter. 

I also want to thank the search committee, chaired by Dr. John McCarthy, Dean and Professor of Communication Disorders, College of Health Sciences and Professions, and Dr. Sarah Wyatt, Faculty Senate Chair and Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology, College of Arts and Sciences. 

I look forward to working closely with Dr. Leo to lead our amazing university to an even brighter future. Please join me in warmly congratulating him on his new role at OHIO.

Dr. Lori Stewart Gonzalez 

April 22, 2024
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