Prof. Lynden Archer, chemical engineering, will take the helm of the College of Engineering starting on July 1, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced on Monday morning.
“He is not only one of our most innovative scientists, but is deeply engaged in taking discoveries directly to application,” Kotlikoff wrote in a University press release. “His insight, creativity and commitment to excellence will ensure the university remains a world leader in engineering research and education.”
Archer, a 20-year veteran of the engineering college, will serve a five-year term as the college’s dean. He will succeed Prof. Lance Collins, mechanical and aerospace engineering, who announced last February that he would leave Cornell after serving two terms as dean to help launch Virginia Tech’s new Innovation Campus.
Archer first became a Cornell faculty member in 2000, kicking off a career that has seen a wide range of accomplishments in the world of chemical and biomolecular engineering. Much of his research focuses on developing new, efficient solutions for energy storage and carbon capture, a technology that can drastically reduce the amount of harmful emissions released into the atmosphere.
His work in that area led to the founding of NOHMS Technology, a company that uses novel techniques in order to produce higher voltage lithium batteries that are safer and “allow for significant cost-savings,” according to its website. He currently serves on the firm’s board of directors.
From 2010 to 2016, Archer led the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and in 2017 he was appointed to serve as the director of the Cornell Energy Systems Institute, a group that aims to develop solutions that reduce society’s carbon footprint.
His appointment comes as the University continues to commit to becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2035, and, according to Archer, he believes that the engineering college will play a key role in making this goal a reality, both at Cornell and elsewhere.
For his leadership in the field, Archer has received a slew of recognitions, including Thomson-Reuters’ “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” distinction, the National Science Foundation’s special creativity award and Scientific American’s “10 Ideas that will Change the World” honor.
After Collins, Archer is the second Black American to serve in the college’s top job.
In recent years, the engineering college has made promoting gender and racial diversity a priority. The college’s undergraduate population is 50 percent female, and, according to the University, at least 25 percent of the incoming freshmen class self-identify as an underrepresented minority. Archer aims to expand this progress to include graduate students and faculty.
“I am excited and humbled by the prospect of leading Cornell Engineering at this challenging moment,” he said in the press release. “Excited, because our history teaches that it is precisely at times like these that successful institutions seize the moment to define what they value, what they aspire to become and what investments are needed to realize these aspirations.”