Clarkson University Board of Trustees Names Marc P. Christensen, PhD, PE as 17th President

Clarkson Community,

The Clarkson University Board of Trustees has elected Marc P. Christensen, PhD, PE to serve as the 17th President of Clarkson University, effective July 1, 2022.

Marc P. Christensen

Dr. Christensen is dean of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, where earlier in his career he was recognized for innovative teaching and outstanding research. At SMU, Dr. Christensen led a number of large multi-institutional collaborations on sensing and imaging at resolutions that previously defied quantification.  During his nine-year tenure as dean, undergraduate engineering enrollment of women grew to more than 35%, and the Lyle School was recognized as a top producer of STEM minority graduate students.    

A respected researcher in the field of photonics, DARPA selected him as one of the first 24 Young Faculty Award recipients, declaring him a “rising star in microsystems research” for his development of an adaptive multi-resolution imaging architecture. Dr. Christensen has coauthored more than 100 journal and conference papers. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Christensen cofounded Applied Photonics, and holds 10 patents spanning the field of free space optical interconnections and computational imaging.

The Presidential Search Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as trustees, selected Isaacson Miller, a well-respected academic search firm, to conduct a national search for Clarkson’s next President, and ultimately recommended Dr. Christensen as their first choice to the Board of Trustees.

The position profile, drafted by the Search Committee after numerous listening sessions with the many constituencies that make up the Clarkson community, sought a next President with the skills, experience and temperament to:

  • Develop and implement a strategic vision.
  • Ensure financial sustainability.
  • Bolster enrollment and retention.
  • Foster a diverse and inclusive campus community.
  • Cultivate a culture of empowerment and leadership development.
  • Be engaged in campus life and serve as the external face of Clarkson.

The Board enthusiastically endorses the selection of Dr. Christensen as our next President, and we look forward to welcoming him and his wife, Seema, to the Clarkson community later this summer, when they will take up residence in Foster House. With industry experience in engineering, Seema is now a ceramics artist looking forward to opening a studio in Potsdam. They are the proud parents of Asha Christensen, a senior in college majoring in economics and philosophy at the University of Toronto, and Priya Christensen, a graduate student pursuing molecular and cell biology at the University of Texas at Dallas.

For a link to the press release on this appointment and more information about President-Elect Christensen, please visit The University community and higher education colleagues will have multiple opportunities to meet and engage with the Christensens starting this July. 

The Board of Trustees offers our deepest gratitude to President Tony Collins, who is stepping down at the conclusion of 2021-22 academic year after serving the University for 40 years and leading the institution for the last two decades. We wish Tony and Karen Collins all the best in the coming years and will fondly remember their many contributions to Clarkson University every time we enter the Collins Hill Campus. The Board also extends its thanks to the members of the Presidential Search Committee for their service and to all members of the Clarkson community who participated in the listening sessions, surveys and nomination process that contributed to the search.


Thomas L. Kassouf ’74
Chair, Board of Trustees

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