To members of the Northeastern community:
I am pleased to share the news that we have appointed a distinguished and innovative higher education leader to serve as Northeastern’s next Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
David Madigan, an acclaimed scholar who served most recently as Columbia University’s Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will succeed Provost Jim Bean, who will conclude his five years of service on June 30. David will start on May 1 in an advisory role, and assume the provost position on July 1.
As the university’s chief academic officer, the provost leads Northeastern’s nine schools and colleges, our expanding research enterprise, information technology services, and university libraries. The provost also works collaboratively with the Senior Vice President for Finance in setting the university’s budget and financial priorities.
David emerged as the strongest candidate from a diverse pool that included an extremely deep and impressive field of academic leaders. He brings to Northeastern a powerful mix: his record of leadership at top institutions, where he advanced priorities aligned with Northeastern’s own; his renowned expertise in statistics and mathematics, fields that are integral in the age of AI; and a global background in private-sector research, partnership, and entrepreneurship.
In his role at Columbia, David oversaw five schools, including the management of five academic deans, 27 departments, and some 50 research centers and institutes. He led successful initiatives to expand lifelong learning programs, and to make Columbia’s faculty and student body more diverse. Notably, he spearheaded a program to ensure that Columbia’s first-generation students would have the mentoring and support they needed to succeed in a highly demanding academic environment.
At Columbia and in his previous position as Rutgers University’s Dean of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, David developed new interdisciplinary learning and research collaborations, and forged industry partnerships to support student and faculty innovation. Under his leadership as department chair, Columbia’s statistics faculty ascended to the ranks of the nation’s top 10.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, David has long been a leading researcher at the intersection of Big Data with healthcare innovation. While serving on the statistics faculty at the University of Washington, he was a member of the world-renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
David also brings a strong global perspective to Northeastern. A native of Ireland, he has led large-scale global collaborations involving academic and pharmaceutical company researchers and government regulators in the U.S. and Europe. Beyond the halls of academia, he has experience as an entrepreneur, innovation leader, researcher, and consultant, both in the U.S. and Ireland. He earned his BA and PhD from Trinity College Dublin.
Nearly five years ago, Jim Bean led a comprehensive and inclusive academic planning process that resulted in Northeastern 2025—our blueprint for the future. To bring the plan to life, Jim recruited outstanding academic leaders to serve as deans—and in other critical roles—that will provide the university with strength and resilience for many years to come.
It was the vision of Northeastern 2025 that powered the provost search committee, an interdisciplinary group of faculty leaders who approached their task as citizens of the entire university. The search committee chair, Professor Jerry Hajjar, led this critical effort; we all owe Jerry, and every member of the committee, a debt of gratitude for their leadership and service.
Please join me in welcoming our next provost, David Madigan, who joins the Northeastern community at a time of great promise and limitless possibilities.
Joseph E. Aoun