David Luzzi, dean of North­eastern University’s Col­lege of Engi­neering, has been appointed exec­u­tive director of the University’s Strategic Secu­rity Ini­tia­tive, announced by Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs. In his new posi­tion, Luzzi will play a key role in building on Northeastern’s existing strengths in security-​​related research and helping the Uni­ver­sity become a national leader in this domain.

“David Luzzi has led the col­lege with a strong record in secu­rity research,” wrote Provost Director in an announce­ment to fac­ulty. “In this new role, he will work across col­lege and unit bound­aries to help the uni­ver­sity achieve a new level of promi­nence and impact in the secu­rity domain.”

Luzzi brings a unique set of qual­i­fi­ca­tions to this new role. He has exe­cuted national respon­si­bil­i­ties over the review of mil­i­tary research and devel­op­ment as a leader of the Air Force Sci­en­tific Advi­sory Board, has spun out two com­pa­nies from his research lab­o­ra­tory and has built a 12-​​university insti­tute that cre­ated and trans­lated a broad port­folio of new tech­nolo­gies.

As Exec­u­tive Director of the Strategic Secu­rity Ini­tia­tive, Luzzi will work closely with the Uni­ver­sity lead­er­ship, deans, the co-​​directors of the George J. Kostas Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity – opening this week – the director of the Center for Research Inno­va­tion and other rel­e­vant mem­bers of the North­eastern com­mu­nity to fur­ther develop the University’s secu­rity agenda.

“Secu­rity against nat­ural and man­made haz­ards is one of the great chal­lenges for the 21st cen­tury,” said Luzzi. “Research break­throughs in sci­ence and tech­nology are required, along with advances in social sci­ence, public policy and human incen­tives and dis­in­cen­tives. In this university-​​wide role, I look for­ward to enabling this great insti­tu­tion to make impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions in this domain.”

During Luzzi’s tenure, the Col­lege of Engi­neering achieved new levels of excel­lence in edu­ca­tion and research. He lead the recruit­ment of 37 out­standing new tenured and tenure-​​track fac­ulty, devel­oped new cen­ters and schol­arly direc­tions, oversaw a sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in research and teaching infra­struc­ture, strength­ened the College’s alumni engage­ment and phil­an­thropy and was a forceful spokesperson for the power of coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion.

Luzzi’s pas­sionate advo­cacy for engi­neering as a force for good in the world and for Northeastern’s dis­tinc­tive model of engi­neering edu­ca­tion helped draw out­standing stu­dents in increas­ingly large num­bers to the Col­lege:  the aca­d­emic quality of the entering under­grad­uate class achieved new records each year, enroll­ments rose sig­nif­i­cantly in master’s pro­grams, and two new inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Ph.D pro­grams were launched during his tenure. 

He was instru­mental in securing the $12 mil­lion gift from alumnus George Kostas, which has made the new George J. Kostas Research Insti­tute for Home­land Secu­rity a reality. In addi­tion, the College’s research funding increased by 33 per­cent, con­tributing to the university’s cur­rent unprece­dented research funding level.

Over the past three years, the Col­lege raised a record $28 mil­lion in phil­an­thropy and launched global part­ner­ships with pres­ti­gious insti­tu­tions, including Shanghai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­sity and Tyco Inter­na­tional in under­grad­uate edu­ca­tion, and Tech­nion Israel Insti­tute of Tech­nology and Tsinghua Uni­ver­sity in research.

Luzzi also presided over the 100th anniver­sary of the Col­lege of Engi­neering, which cul­mi­nated in an inspi­ra­tional event that brought together fac­ulty, stu­dents, and alumni from all over the world.

As he tran­si­tions into this new posi­tion, Luzzi will con­clude his tenure as dean. The Uni­ver­sity will launch a national search for his suc­cessor and will appoint an interim dean to lead the Col­lege until a new dean is appointed.