After a nationwide search in 2016, Oregon Institute of Technology’s Board of Trustees selected Dr. Nagi Naganathan as the 7th President of the university on November 16, 2016. At the time, Dr. Naganathan served as the dean of the College of Engineering at The University of Toledo (UT) in Toledo, Ohio.
In addition to serving as the dean of engineering at UT, and previously interim dean of engineering, Dr. Naganathan was also UT’s interim president; was the founding chairperson of the Mechanical, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering department; and was a member of the faculty since 1986.
Key initiatives during his interim presidency included implementing a multi-year faculty-hiring plan; successfully lobbying the leadership of the Ohio General Assembly for additional state share of instructional support in response to the state-mandated tuition freeze; redesigning the Title IX process on campus to ensure student safety and welfare; forming a consortium with key community college partners to strengthen student pipelines and reduce administrative costs; increasing donor engagement both regionally and nationally; and the consummation of a 50-year, $2.5 billion affiliation agreement between UT’s medical school and a regional healthcare system.
Under his leadership as dean, UT’s College of Engineering achieved historically high student enrollment, registering an increase in enrollment every fall semester for 11 years through improved recruitment and retention; successfully implemented a mandatory co-operative experience program – one of only eight in the nation – to exceed 18,000 placements, in partnership with more than 2,000 employers in 44 states in the U.S. and 37 foreign countries; created new degree programs through interdisciplinary and inter- institutional collaborations with the Colleges of Business and Innovation, Natural Sciences, and Medicine in the areas of information technology, biomedical engineering, energy engineering, environmental engineering, and green chemistry & engineering as well as at partner sites in the state of Ohio and overseas; and achieved national ranking for its graduate programs. He successfully raised more than $16M through philanthropic support to help the college grow in its programming and footprint that included the Roy & Marcia Armes Engineering Leadership Institute, the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex and the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.
Dr. Naganathan has received a number of prestigious awards, including elevation to Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, UT Outstanding Teacher Award, UT Outstanding Researcher Award, SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, ASME Outstanding Regional Faculty Advisor Award, TST/TSPE Engineer of the Year, and Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, the National Institute of Technology in Tiruchirappalli, India.
As a researching faculty member, Dr. Naganathan has also secured more than six million dollars in grants and contracts from external sponsors. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and national and international conference proceedings and is a recipient of a U.S. patent on the use of piezoelectric devices in active suspension systems (US Patent 5,390,949).
Dr. Naganathan’s professional contributions include his service as a director of the American Society for Engineering Education Engineering Deans Council Executive Board, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio Aerospace Institute (Cleveland, Ohio), and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (based in Washington, DC; serving as president through November 2016). He also currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of WACE, Inc. (World Association for Cooperative & Work-Integrated Education) and on the boards of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center and the Portland Business Alliance.
Dr. Naganathan earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology at Tiruchirappalli (formerly known as Regional Engineering College, Tiruchirappalli), University of Madras, India, a master’s degree in mechanical and industrial engineering from Clarkson University, New York and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University.