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Regents name Dr. Robert B. Gagosian Acting President of the Desert Research Institute

Reno, Nevada - May 2, 2016

The Board of Regents today approved the appointment of Dr. Robert B. Gagosian as the acting president of the Desert Research Institute, effective July 1.

Robert Gagosian Portrait IMG 0039The appointment follows the departure of President Stephen G. Wells, who had served in DRI's top position since 1999. Wells has accepted the presidency of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Dr. Robert B. Gagosian Dr. Robert B. Gagosian

"For someone of Dr. Gagosian's stature to agree to step in as acting president speaks volumes about DRI and our potential going forward," said Rick Trachok, chairman of the Board of Regents. "His involvement will make the presidential vacancy that much more attractive for those types of candidates we need to move DRI to the next level."

"Dr. Gagosian has the business, philanthropic and scientific experience to lead the renowned scientists, researchers and scholars at the Desert Research Institute," added Chancellor Dan Klaich who, in consultation with Regent Trachok, recommended Gagosian for the position. "He is an internationally known and respected leader in scientific research, and his knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing environmental research organizations make him the perfect leader during this critical stage of DRI's development."

"I am honored and privileged to be asked to lead such a prestigious institution during this time of transition," said Gagosian. "I greatly appreciate the confidence that both the Board of Regents and the chancellor have expressed in my experience and leadership, and I am looking forward to participating in the future of DRI."

Gagosian is the president emeritus of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and served as that organization's first president and CEO from 2007 until 2015. He is also the president emeritus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and served as the organization's president for 12 years.

Gagosian earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University. In addition, he was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Click to view full biography.

Gagosian will serve as acting president through June 30, 2017, or until a permanent president is hired through a national search undertaken by the Board of Regents.

The official NSHE Announcement can be read here


About DRI: The Desert Research Institute, the nonprofit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education, is a world leader in environmental sciences through the application of knowledge and technologies to improve people's lives throughout Nevada and the world.

About NSHE: The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to nearly 106,500 students and is governed by the Nevada Board of Regents.