SMU announces J. Murray Gibson as fourth provost candidate

SMU announcedDr. J. Murray Gibson as its fourth provost candidate for the position of University Provost Wednesday.

Dr. J. Murray Gibson is currently the founding dean of the College of Science at Northeastern University.

The announcement was made to SMU faculty and staff Oct. 21 around 5:47 p.m. via an administrative email.

Gibson is currently the founding dean of the College of Science at Northeastern University. He earned his BSc in natural philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and his PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge, England.

The Scottish native has held multiple senior academic and research positions after emigrating to the U.S. in 1978. He began a fellowship at IBM Research, then another at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey for 11 years. His most recent accomplishment was serving as Director of the $1.7 billion Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory. As Director, APS emerged as a world-leading scientific user facility where research has already led to two Nobel prizes.

“There are undoubtedly great opportunities for SMU and I look forward to learning more,” Gibson said in a letter to Provost Search Committee members. “I have led dynamic positive change in diverse organizations and I am eager to play a role in facilitating the further success of Southern Methodist University as the Provost, and hope to have the chance to explore the opportunity.”

The provost position has been vacant since May 31 after former Provost Paul Ludden chose to step down Feb. 23 to be closer to his family. The provost search committee has been looking for Ludden’s replacement since this spring. SMU announced its first candidate David Chard, dean of Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Sept. 30, its second candidate Michele G. Wheatly Oct. 4, and its third candidate Steven C. Currall Oct. 16.

During his visit, Gibson will meet with university leaders, administrators, officials, faculty and staff.

After each potential provost visit, SMU faculty, staff and administrators are asked to evaluate the candidate with three questions:

  1. Based on your view of provost leadership needs at the SMU, what do you perceive to be this candidate’s principal strengths?
  2. What do you perceive as this candidate’s principal weaknesses?
  3. Additional observations or summary comments.

Gibson will be on campus Oct. 26 from 3-4 p.m.

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