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Luzzi appointed to lead University’s security research

David Luzzi, dean of Northeastern University’s College of Engineering, has been appointed executive director of the University’s Strategic Security Initiative, announced by Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. In his new position, Luzzi will play a key role in building on Northeastern’s existing strengths in security-related research and helping the University become a national leader in this domain.

“David Luzzi has led the college with a strong record in security research,” wrote Provost Director in an announcement to faculty. “In this new role, he will work across college and unit boundaries to help the university achieve a new level of prominence and impact in the security domain.”

Luzzi brings a unique set of qualifications to this new role. He has executed national responsibilities over the review of military research and development as a leader of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, has spun out two companies from his research laboratory and has built a 12-university institute that created and translated a broad portfolio of new technologies.

As Executive Director of the Strategic Security Initiative, Luzzi will work closely with the University leadership, deans, the co-directors of the George J. Kostas Institute for Homeland Security – opening this week – the director of the Center for Research Innovation and other relevant members of the Northeastern community to further develop the University’s security agenda.

“Security against natural and manmade hazards is one of the great challenges for the 21st century,” said Luzzi. “Research breakthroughs in science and technology are required, along with advances in social science, public policy and human incentives and disincentives. In this university-wide role, I look forward to enabling this great institution to make important contributions in this domain.”

During Luzzi’s tenure, the College of Engineering achieved new levels of excellence in education and research. He lead the recruitment of 37 outstanding new tenured and tenure-track faculty, developed new centers and scholarly directions, oversaw a significant investment in research and teaching infrastructure, strengthened the College’s alumni engagement and philanthropy and was a forceful spokesperson for the power of cooperative education.

Luzzi’s passionate advocacy for engineering as a force for good in the world and for Northeastern’s distinctive model of engineering education helped draw outstanding students in increasingly large numbers to the College:  the academic quality of the entering undergraduate class achieved new records each year, enrollments rose significantly in master’s programs, and two new interdisciplinary Ph.D programs were launched during his tenure.

He was instrumental in securing the $12 million gift from alumnus George Kostas, which has made the new George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security a reality. In addition, the College’s research funding increased by 33 percent, contributing to the university’s current unprecedented research funding level.

Over the past three years, the College raised a record $28 million in philanthropy and launched global partnerships with prestigious institutions, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Tyco International in undergraduate education, and Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University in research.

Luzzi also presided over the 100th anniversary of the College of Engineering, which culminated in an inspirational event that brought together faculty, students, and alumni from all over the world.

As he transitions into this new position, Luzzi will conclude his tenure as dean. The University will launch a national search for his successor and will appoint an interim dean to lead the College until a new dean is appointed.