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Purdue University’s provost named president of Virginia Tech

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Sands. Photo courtesy Virginia Tech.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors announced Friday that Tim Sands will become the university’s 16th president on June 1.


Sands is executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., a public university with almost 40,000 students . He replaces Charles W. Steger who announced his retirement in May and will step down when Sands assumes office.


Steger, a Virginia Tech graduate, has led the university since 2000.


Sands, 55, was Purdue’s acting president in the fall 2012. He currently is the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering in Purdue’s School of Materials Engineering and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


Sands began his professional career in 1984 at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and later became an industry fellow at the lab doing advanced materials research.


He spent nine years as a member of technical staff and as a research group director with Bell Communications Research Inc. (Bellcore) in Red Bank, N.J. From 1993-2002 he was a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Purdue in 2002 as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering and later became director of the university’s Birck Nanotechnology Center.

Sands holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.


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