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George Langford named dean of Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences
Kevin C. Quinn
George M. Langford, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named dean of The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, effective Aug. 11. The appointment was announced today by SU Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina.
Langford, a nationally known neuroscientist who is also a distinguished professor of biology at UMass Amherst, succeeds Cathryn R. Newton, who rejoins the Arts and Sciences faculty as professor of interdisciplinary sciences.
“It is a great honor to be selected to lead the college as its new dean,” says Langford. “I will work to advance the strengths of the disciplines in the college and seek collaboration with colleagues to build interdisciplinary clusters that bring distinction to the college and the University.”
“The Chancellor and I are thrilled that George Langford has agreed to become dean of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University,” says Spina. “Like those in the college, we are very impressed with George’s intellect, demeanor and leadership ability. We are confident that, as a highly regarded scholar-teacher, he will be focused on advancing the excellence of The College of Arts and Sciences. George has lived an interdisciplinary life as a faculty member and has advocated for an interdisciplinary approach as an administrator, and I expect that cross-college and cross-university collaboration will be central to his approach and vision at SU.”
Prior to becoming dean at UMass Amherst in 2005, Langford was the Ernest Everett Just Professor of Natural Sciences and professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College. He also served as adjunct professor of physiology at the Dartmouth Medical Center from 1991-2005.
From 1988-91, Langford was professor of physiology in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He previously served as program director for the National Science Foundation’s Cell Biology Program; was appointed the Josiah Macy Scholar at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass.; and taught at both the Howard University College of Medicine and at UMass Boston. A cell biologist and neuroscientist, Langford studies cellular mechanisms of learning and memory, specifically how the brain recalls information and how this process is impaired by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Throughout his academic career, Langford has been instrumental in designing and implementing programs to support and mentor minority students in the sciences. In 1985, he was named the first chairman of the Minorities Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology, and he has frequently lectured on diversity in the sciences.
Langford received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in cell biology from the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed postdoctoral training as a National Institute of Health (NIH) Fellow in the cell biology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Fayetteville State University.
In 1998, Langford was nominated by President Clinton to the National Science Board (NSB) — the governing board of the National Science Foundation — to advise the president and Congress on national science policy. He served on the NSB from 1998-2004, as chair of the NSB Education and Human Resources Committee from 2002-04, and as vice-chair for the NSB National Workforce Taskforce Subcommittee from 1999-2004.
Langford currently serves on the boards of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards in the Biomedical Sciences Advisory Committee, the NIH SYN Study Section, the National Research Council Associateships Program Committee, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and the Massachusetts Life Science Collaborative Leadership Council.