Rodney Priestley has worked his way from engineer to dean.

In a press release, it was announced that Princeton University’s Graduate School has appointed Rodney Priestley as its dean, following just two years after Priestley became the vice dean for innovation at the prestigious university.

“My interest in becoming dean of Princeton’s Graduate School originates with my own personal experience of graduate school,” said Rodney Priestley, according to a press release. “The mentorship, encouragement and support I received has enabled every goal I have reached throughout my career. My advisers’ belief in me has always inspired me to give back to others to whatever extent possible.”

He added: “I’m really, really excited to be able to serve a wide range of graduate students, and hopefully impact their graduate education in a manner that they have an experience that’s as good as the one that I did.”

Priestley Will Diversify Graduate Program

Under his new role, he will ensure the Graduate School embarks into a period of growth, additional investments, and has tunnel vision for its mission. Priestley will also be responsible to ensure there is improvement in diversifying the graduate program, fostering an inclusive environment, “innovating in the humanities,” and providing additional career opportunities.

“Rod Priestley is a superb scholar, a dedicated teacher and a proven administrator,” said Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber, according to a press release. “He cares deeply about graduate students and graduate education, and I am confident that he will lead Princeton’s Graduate School with distinction.”

Priestley Begins Role This Summer

Priestley earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Priestley’s chapter led him to Princeton where he became an assistant professor and later an associate professor in 2015 before becoming a full professor four years later.

Priestley is expected to begin his new role on June 1. He will continue serving as a co-director of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Northeast Hub and a search will soon begin to fill his position as vice dean for innovation.