Nagi G. Naganathan MS’81, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the Spring 2020 launch at Clarkson University on Saturday, May 22.
The degree was awarded for “his influential leadership and unwavering dedication to our next generation of global leaders as senior higher education executives, and for his dedication to researching intelligent materials systems and structures.”
Naganathan explained how you never really know what to expect in their life, as the events of 2020 show. “I didn’t know where I was going, and all of a sudden I applied, because my friend was dating Clarkson. I got a scholarship to come here for a master’s degree, ”he said.
“To do what I do, Clarkson not only launched me in terms of lifelong service for my education, but it has allowed me to grow as a person and face the surprises that life is full of. Life is full of forks, surprises, and resets. You all handled it wonderfully in 2020 when it happened and to deal with a pandemic as well, and you persisted and graduated too. I am very proud to be a part of this rich 125 year history of Clarkson and I am deeply grateful for the start I had here. One thing I want to leave you with; build on the relationships you have forged here, they will go a long way, ”said Naganathan.
Naganathan began his service as the seventh president of the Oregon Institute of Technology (“Oregon Tech”) in 2017. Previously, he was the acting president of the University of Toledo (UT) in 2014-15, dean of the engineering from 2000-2016, and founding president of the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering from 1995 to 2000.
As president of Oregon Tech, Naganathan led the university’s efforts to secure $ 42 million in public and philanthropic funding for a new engineering complex, secured permanent funding for Oregon Renewable Energy Center at Oregon Tech, has engaged the university as the host of Oregon Manufacturing Innovation. Center (OMIC), and secured additional philanthropic contributions in support of Stilwell Stadium, a student tax literacy program and the DeArmond Foundation Manufacturing Fellows program.
As interim president of UT, Naganathan established the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute; redesigned the Title IX process; concluded several employer-union contracts; reorganized UT’s innovation firms; and entered into a 50-year, $ 2.5 billion affiliation agreement between the medical school and a regional health system.
As the dean of UT College of Engineering, the college reached historically high enrollments to become the largest university college in UT. Naganathan elevated the college’s mandatory co-op experience program, surpassing 18,000 placements with nearly 2,500 employers in 44 states and 37 foreign countries; and raised $ 16 million through philanthropy to establish, among other initiatives, the Roy & Marcia Armes Engineering Leadership Institute, the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex and the Brady Engineering Innovation Center.
Naganathan’s research encompasses mechanisms, intelligent material systems and structures, robotics, vibration and control, and applications of microcomputers in electromechanical systems. He has secured over $ 6 million in grants and contracts from external sponsors and has written or co-authored over 100 publications and conference proceedings.
His awards include Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. His professional services include the boards of directors of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council, the Ohio Aerospace Institute, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders, WACE, Inc., the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center R&D and the ‘Oregon Innovation Council.
Naganathan received a Bachelor of Engineering with Honors in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Trichy, University of Madras, India, a Masters of Science in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from Clarkson University, and a PhD. in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He and his wife, Kasturi Naganathan, are the proud parents of Dr Sonya Naganathan, MD, who is a Global Emergency Medicine Fellow at Brown University.