Executive Vice President for Research, G. Michael Purdy will be retiring at the end of this calendar year, President Lee Bollinger announced in an email Thursday morning.
During his nine years in the role, Purdy’s focused his efforts on improving the University’s research facilities as well as recruiting and retaining top talent. Under his leadership, Columbia has grown its research initiatives regarding nanotechnology, quantum science, and engineering. Purdy has also been essential in the planning and process behind building Columbia research institutes such as the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, the Data Science Institute, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and the Herbert and Florence Irving Institute for Cancer Dynamics.
Before joining the University, Purdy had previously worked as the Director of the Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory and as a marine geophysicist for many years. He has also been honored by the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions.
“He possesses a rare capacity for translating ethereal ambitions into tangible reality, a precious skill for any world-class research university,” President Bollinger wrote about Purdy. “Mike is perhaps the last person at Columbia to seek credit for his personal contributions when collaborating with others. Nevertheless, his many University partners in these efforts appreciate that, for the better part of a decade, his dedicated leadership has been indispensable to strengthening research at Columbia. He has been our captain.”
The University will form an advisory group to assist in searching for a replacement for Purdy.