Suresh V. Garimella is the 27th president of the University of Vermont. A strong proponent of the value of public higher education, President Garimella was drawn to UVM in part because of its status as the land-grant university for Vermont, the home state of Senator Justin Morrill who authored the land grant concept and served as a UVM trustee.
Drawing on his own experience as a product of public universities, Garimella recognizes the transformative power of education and research and the importance of access and service. This is reflected in Amplifying Our Impact, the strategic vision released in the first year of President Garimella’s tenure.
The vision, which has three main pillars, prioritizes student success through quality, affordability, accessibility, and opportunity. This has been underscored by Garimella’s efforts to promote scholarship opportunities for underrepresented and underserved students, while freezing tuition for three consecutive years.
In addition to student success, the Amplifying Our Impact vision highlights UVM’s distinctive and collaborative research strengths in healthy societies and a healthy environment and reinforces the importance of its land-grant mission. The new Office of Engagement—UVM’s “front door” to organizations and people throughout the state—is designed to bring the university’s intellectual resources and capabilities to bear on Vermont’s economic and workforce development and its social capital.
Working closely with state and local government officials, as well as the university’s medical and health policy experts, President Garimella led UVM’s effort to offer safe, high-quality, in-person education during the COVID pandemic. The university’s operational strategy and execution garnered positive recognition at the national level, achieving some of the highest levels of student testing and compliance and lowest levels infection positivity rates.
A highly cited scholar and researcher and a passionate educator and mentor, Dr. Garimella has made seminal contributions to the field of electronics thermal management and energy efficiency at micro and nano-scales, and in sustainable energy systems technology and policy. He has moved to promote UVM’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, a commitment that was underscored in July 2020 when the university’s board of trustees voted unanimously to divest UVM’s endowment of fossil fuel investments.
As a mentor to over 90 graduate students and 50 post-doctoral scholars, 28 of whom are in faculty positions across the world, and co-author of over 600 refereed publications and 13 patents, Garimella is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has applied his expertise to national and international policy issues, having served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State and as Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas.
Garimella is a member of the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation and also serves as an independent body of advisers to both the President and Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering. He also serves on the seven-person research advisory board of Sandia National Laboratories.
President Garimella came to Vermont from Purdue University, where he was Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. He led Purdue’s $660 million per year research enterprise, reaching five consecutive record years in sponsored funding, in part through strategic and comprehensive partnerships developed with major corporations, NGOs, and national governments and institutions in Colombia, India, and the Middle East. The innovation ecosystem he co-led generated about 50 startups in each of the five years. Garimella conceived and implemented ambitious campuswide initiatives in life sciences and integrative data science, and oversaw Discovery Park, a unique set of facilities and institutes where the convergence of disciplines helped solve global challenges related to health and life sciences, sustainability, food, energy, and defense and security.
Garimella received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, his MS from The Ohio State University, and his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.