After 21 years as a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, Andrea Goldsmith has been named dean of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective September 1.
“A piece of my heart will always remain at Stanford,” said Goldsmith, who has supervised 27 doctoral students and 23 postdoctoral scholars, in addition to serving as a former chair of the Faculty Senate, and current member of that body, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance and of the University Budget Group.
Goldsmith, who received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, taught at the California Institute of Technology before joining the Stanford faculty in 1999. She was named the Stephen Harris Professor of Engineering in 2012.
A leader in the fields of information theory and communications, Goldsmith helped lay the mathematical foundations for increasing the capacity, speed and range of wireless systems, and among her 29 patents are many inventions central to cell phone and Wi-Fi networks. Through her affiliation with Stanford’s Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Goldsmith has continued to explore the interdisciplinary ramifications of some of the theories and principles she discovered in her communications and signal processing research.
As a scholar, she has been the author, co-author or editor of six books, and has produced hundreds of journal papers and conference publications and papers. Among her many professional affiliations, she has served on the Board of Governors for the IEEE Information Theory Society and the IEEE Communications Society, and as president of the IEEE Information Theory Society. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, two of the highest honors in U.S. academia.
An advocate for increased diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in academia and the tech industry, Goldsmith served on the Stanford Faculty Women’s Forum Steering Committee, a group focused on improving recruitment, retention, support and overall satisfaction of women faculty, and serves as founding chair of the IEEE Board of Directors Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics.
On the business front, Goldsmith co-founded a company that produces chips for high-performance Wi-Fi systems, which went public in 2016, and later co-founded a privately held firm that makes home Wi-Fi mesh networks. In addition to serving as a technical advisor to two companies, she sits on the board of directors of Medtronic, a medical device maker, and Crown Castle, a communications infrastructure company.
“I am deeply grateful to my esteemed faculty colleagues and my brilliant and passionate students and postdocs for the honor and privilege of working with them these last 21 years,” Goldsmith said. “I am also grateful to my department and school for providing the framework in which my research and teaching could thrive. Stanford’s innovative spirit and constant quest for excellence and impact, coupled with its thoughtful and wise faculty and leaders, have been a source of inspiration throughout my time here.”
As dean at Princeton, she will oversee a school comprising six departments and four research centers, and will oversee new initiatives in bioengineering, data science and robotics, among others.
“I know I speak for all of us in the School of Engineering when I say we will miss Andrea greatly,” said Jennifer Widom, the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the School of Engineering and the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Science and professor of electrical engineering.
“Simply put, she is an extraordinary scholar, educator and university citizen. Her outstanding innovative research and mentorship, commitment to diversity, and leadership in a range of significant university-wide committees and working groups have set an example for us all,” Widom said. “We are proud of all that she has accomplished, and we know that the students, faculty and staff at Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science are incredibly fortunate that she will be their new dean.”