Cynthia Friend named director of the Rowland Institute

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Cynthia Friend, Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been named as the next director of the Rowland Institute at Harvard.

Friend brings extensive leadership experience to the directorship, having previously served as associate director of the Harvard Materials Science and Engineering Center, associate dean in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and associate laboratory director for Photon Science at the SLAC Linear Accelerator Center.

As director of the Rowland Institute, Friend will work closely with both Cherry A. Murray, dean of SEAS, and Jeremy Bloxham, dean of science in FAS, to ensure the Rowland’s continued success as a forum for scientific exploration, creativity, and innovation.

In 2009, Friend was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Chemical Society. She has received recognition for her research in chemical approaches to reducing energy usage from numerous academic societies and institutions, including the Olah Award for Hydrocarbon Chemistry. Friend received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981 and joined the Harvard faculty in 1982. She was appointed as associate professor in 1986, and became a full professor in 1989.

“Cynthia brings to the directorship of the Rowland exceptional understanding of interdisciplinary scientific research and a pragmatic, open, and thoughtful style that has enabled her to effectively manage across constituencies,” said Michael D. Smith, dean of FAS.