Ronald Elsenbaumer, special advisor to the president at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and a Purdue University alumnus, has been named the next chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, effective Nov. 1.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Thursday (Sept. 21) announced Elsenbaumer would replace Vicky Carwein, who retired after serving as IPFW chancellor since 2012. Purdue trustee Gary Lehman led the search committee, which identified four finalists who made campus presentations in July.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Ron back to Purdue,” said President Mitch Daniels. “He brings an exceptional blend of academic and industry experience, and he’ll need it to lead the campus in new directions at a pivotal moment in its history.
“Our positive reaction to his impressive credentials was reinforced by the overwhelmingly favorable feedback we received from faculty, staff and students who met him during his trip to campus.”
Elsenbaumer will take the helm of the Fort Wayne campus as it transitions from shared governance between Purdue and Indiana universities.
“Dr. Elsenbaumer’s strong record of academic leadership and industry understanding was a major factor,” Lehman said. “We look to him to enhance IPFW’s collaborations with the northeast Indiana community and to expand its educational impact in the northeast region of the state. I also want to thank my colleagues on the search committee for their diligence and commitment to the future of IPFW.”
Elsenbaumer, who has been at UTA since 1991, has served in his current role as senior advisor for entrepreneurship and economic development since 2016. He also has served the university as provost and vice president for academic affairs, vice president for research and federal relations, director of the nano-fabrication research and teaching facility, chair of both the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Materials Science and Engineering Program, a professor of chemistry and polymer chemistry, and as a professor of materials science and engineering.
From 1977-1991 Elsenbaumer worked for AlliedSignal, which took the name Honeywell after it purchased that company in 1999. He started with the AlliedSignal as a laboratory scientist and was promoted to senior research associate and conductive polymer project leader. In that role he managed project development all the way through market release and worked with development partner companies in Europe and Japan.
He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in chemistry from Purdue’s West Lafayette campus in 1973 and his doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University in 1978. Elsenbaumer has been a member of numerous professional associations and boards, as well as university committees and groups.
“It’s exciting to return to Purdue at what is a critical juncture at the Fort Wayne campus,” Elsenbaumer said. “With the challenge comes a tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to working closely with the campus and northeast Indiana communities to ensure we are educationally relevant to our students and economically impactful to the region.”
Elsenbaumer will serve as the chief executive officer and oversee completion of the campus realignment and restructuring, becoming the new institution’s first leader. When the realignment is complete, the new Purdue University Fort Wayne will be the state’s third-largest metropolitan campus, housing 11 Centers of Excellence and more than 30 departments in five colleges, one school, and two divisions in 40 buildings and structures.
The new chancellor will be responsible for articulating a vision, values and priorities for the institution as it relates to Northeast Indiana, while advancing academic quality, student success and affordability.