SMU Lyle School of Engineering Dean Marc P. Christensen named President of Clarkson University

Dean Marc Christensen

DALLAS (SMU) – Marc P. Christensen, dean of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering and Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation, has been named the 17th president of Clarkson University, a private research institution with more than 4,600 students based in Potsdam, New York.

The Clarkson University Board of Trustees announced that Christensen will begin leading Clarkson on July 1, 2022. He succeeds Anthony G. Collins, who is stepping down after 19 years as Clarkson’s president and 40 years of overall service to the university. Christensen’s appointment follows a national search that began in August 2021.

“Dean Christensen has led the Lyle School for the past nine years - a time of remarkable technological change worldwide, as well as here at SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He has guided our engineering students with a focus on technology and innovation, and we are proud that the work he has done at SMU has prepared him for this important role." 

Christensen joined the faculty of the Lyle School in 2002 and quickly established a reputation for teaching and research prowess. A recognized leader in the field of photonics research, Christensen was named a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Fellow in 2007, the same year he was appointed chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. He built an aggressive portfolio of personal research throughout his tenure at SMU, leading a number of multi-institutional collaborations on sensing and imaging and earning nearly $22 million in externally funded research and grants.

Christensen was named dean of the Lyle School in 2013. In the ensuing years the Lyle School raised more than $78 million to endow faculty, research and institutes; to support entrepreneurship, academic programs and initiatives; and to endow scholarships and graduate fellowships. Undergraduate enrollment of women at the Lyle School grew to more than 35% during Christensen’s tenure, compared to a national average of about 24%. The Lyle School was also recognized under his leadership by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as a top producer of STEM graduate students from underrepresented groups.   

“Dean Christensen’s twenty years of leadership and research excellence in service to SMU and the Lyle School of Engineering have established a remarkable legacy on our campus,” said Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “His presence and contributions will be missed, but I am thrilled that his accomplishments have afforded him the opportunity and honor to assume the presidency at Clarkson.”

SMU will launch a national search in fall 2022 for Christensen’s replacement, Loboa said, led by Sam Holland, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts.

Christensen received a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University in 1993, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Mason University in 1998 and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from George Mason University in 2001.

The same year Christensen received his master’s degree he co-founded Applied Photonics, a company that provided hardware demonstrations for DARPA programs that incorporated precision optics, micro-optoelectronic arrays and micro-mechanical arrays.

Find more information here about the search for Clarkson University’s president.  

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, Clarkson hosts additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, and New York City. Clarkson provides education in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions.  

For more information about Clarkson contact Kelly Chezum, vice president of External Relations at or 315-268-4483. 


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