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Case Western Reserve University Presidents

James W. Wagner: 2001-2002

James W. Wagner

James W. Wagner, now president of Emory University, was appointed interim president of Case Western Reserve University on May 4, 2001. The appointment followed the resignation of President David Auston a week earlier.

Previously, President Wagner had been provost and University vice-president of Case Western Reserve since September 2000. In that role, he was responsible for leading academic operations and services in coordination with the Case president, and he served as principal deputy to the president in the University's administration. Under his leadership, Case's progress accelerated dramatically, registering a number of significant accomplishments, including:

  • Working with a consultant and a University-wide commission to enhance undergraduate education and student life, including developing new curricular options;
  • Leading the reconfiguration of the University's research and technology transfer functions;
  • Making several key appointments in the areas of research and technology transfer on campus;
  • Appointing a vice-provost for planning and assessment, Professor Lynn Singer of the School of Medicine, to focus on providing leadership for institutional research and other activities to support academic planning and assessment;
  • Supporting the establishment of a Postdoctoral Researchers Association, which provides networking, mentoring, and support for Case's postdoctoral research community; and appointing an ad hoc committee on Postdoctoral Researchers Issues to assist with these efforts.

Prior to becoming Case provost, President Wagner served as dean and professor of materials science at Case's Case School of Engineering from 1998 to 2000. As dean, he developed a forward-looking vision for the school--focusing on fundamentals, creativity, societal awareness, leadership skills, and professionalism--and a set of specific plans to achieve that vision. Among his many accomplishments, President Wagner established a groundbreaking joint degree program in engineering and management with the Weatherhead School of Management, supported by $4.2-million grant from the Timken Foundation. He also created the position of associate dean for research and technology with the Case School of Engineering, and initiated a technology transfer initiative for the Case School in coordination with the University-wide program.

Before coming to Case, James Wagner was professor of materials science and engineering at the Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering. While at the Whiting School, he chaired the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and was director of the Materials Research Center of Excellence. He holds a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Delaware, and an MS in clinical engineering and a PhD in materials science and engineering from Johns Hopkins.

President Wagner is noted for his contributions to materials science, especially in the area of nondestructive evaluation and characterization of materials. His research involves using laser-based testing technologies that make it possible to evaluate the performance of materials without stressing the materials' limits or destroying them. He is a resident of Shaker Heights.

For a look at the vision James Wagner had for the Case School of Engineering when he was dean there, click here for a feature article from the winter 1999 issue of Case Magazine.

For a look at the progress the Case School of Engineering made under President Wagner’s leadership, click here for a feature article from the fall 2000 issue of Case Magazine.

Learn more about President Wagner.