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Provost M. Brian Blake Named to George Washington University Post

Nina Henderson Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs M. Brian Blake, PhD, spoke at Drexel University's 2019 Convocation.

October 09, 2019

Below is a message from President John Fry:

With mixed emotions, I am announcing that Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, has decided to leave Drexel next month to become provost of George Washington University. Since joining Drexel as our chief academic officer in 2015, Provost Blake has been critical to our success in recruiting our most academically qualified freshman classes, hiring 11 deans and more than 100 faculty, and achieving our first-ever Carnegie Classification as an R1 doctoral university.

Our loss clearly will accrue to the benefit of George Washington. However, I am excited that Provost Blake will have a unique career opportunity in his new academic home — and, in addition, he will join his former University of Miami colleague, Thomas LeBlanc, who became George Washington president in 2017. President LeBlanc, who as University of Miami provost appointed Provost Blake as vice provost, has announced plans for a transformative new enrollment strategy at the university. From a personal perspective, Provost Blake's wife, Bridget, has extended family living in the Washington, DC area.

Upon Provost Blake's departure, Paul E. Jensen, PhD, the R. John Chapel, Jr., Dean's Chair at LeBow College of Business, will become interim provost. Professor Vibhas Madan, PhD, Senior Associate for Academic Programming in LeBow, will become interim dean at LeBow.

Provost Blake's legacy is a rich one. Among his signature initiatives, he conceived several new programs to incentivize research and professional master's degrees, including the Drexel Areas of Research Excellence program and the Market-Driven Academic Program Ventures program. He oversaw the creation of key institutes and centers, including the Drexel Business Solutions Institute; Center for Functional Fabrics; the Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science Center; and the University's first Teaching and Learning Center.

During his tenure, the University also established more than a dozen institutional agreements with two- and four-year institutions to recruit transfer students, in addition to the Experiential Edge program that facilitated winter-entry students who deepen their experiential learning by interning with local companies in their first term. Provost Blake also worked with our Advancement team to secure more than $65 million in gifts from donors, including five endowed professorships, an endowed institute, his own endowed position — as the Nina Henderson Provost — and more than a dozen endowed scholarships for minorities and women in STEM.

Provost Blake's creation of the Dragon'24 Student Circle greatly enhanced student engagement, and reestablishing the Provost's Fellow program provided career development for more than 15 Fellows, as did the institutionalization of the ELATES program, which has matriculated more than 65 women academic administrators over the past three years.

The Provost's Office also led implementation of planning for new facilities and contiguous spaces for the College of Computing and Informatics, the School of Education, School of Biomedical Engineering, Sciences and Health Systems, and the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Prior to joining Drexel, Provost Blake, in addition to vice provost, was dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami and oversaw graduate programs serving more than 5,700 students. Previously, he was associate dean for research and graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame's College of Engineering. Before that, he chaired Georgetown University's Department of Computer Science as it launched its first graduate program.

Provost Blake received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s in electrical engineering from Mercer University. He received his doctorate in information and software engineering from George Mason University.

Brian has been a trusted colleague and wonderful partner, and I know that he will be missed. Please join me in wishing him all the best in his new role at George Washington University.