Biography

President James W. Wagner

Dr. James W. Wagner

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James W. Wagner, PhD, an award-winning teacher and scientist, has served as president of Emory University since 2003. Born and reared in Maryland, he earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1975 from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in clinical engineering in 1978 from The Johns Hopkins University. In 1984 he completed his PhD degree in materials science and engineering from Johns Hopkins. Following a distinguished tenure on the faculty of Johns Hopkins, he served as dean, provost, and interim president of Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Wagner is a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is a recipient of the President’s Award of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators for Region III, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Johns Hopkins, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.

Throughout his administrative career, Dr. Wagner has worked closely with faculty, students, alumni, and staff to enhance the undergraduate educational experience, grow research, and foster more effective partnerships among the academy, government, and industry. Out of a firm devotion to the ancient university mission of liberal education, he has forged collaborations among a diverse array of schools and programs, ranging from the arts and sciences to the professional schools.

As president of Emory, he set in motion a campus-wide initiative to develop a clear vision statement, launched a year-long strategic planning process and a 10-year strategic plan (now in its last year), and led a campaign that raised nearly $1.7 billion by its conclusion in December 2012.

Dr. Wagner serves on the boards of The Carter Center and the Georgia Research Alliance. In 2009 President Obama appointed him to serve as vice-chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

Jim and Debbie Wagner have two grown daughters, Kimberly and Christine. His avocations include restoring antique cars and astrophotography.

Dr. Wagner announced on September 11, 2015 that he would retire from the presidency at the end of August 2016.