Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau to leave for university in Saudi Arabia

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Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau announced Tuesday that he would step down from his position later this year. Chameau has served as president for seven years.

He says he’s leaving to lead the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Chameau said that leaving Caltech was a recent decision.

“Until recently, Carol and I believed we would complete our careers at Caltech and retire in Pasadena.”

Chameau said that he was impressed by KAUST and believes it will have a large impact.

“Because of its unique location and its charter as an international and diverse center of learning and research, KAUST is positioned to have a dramatic impact on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and the world.”

In his statement announcing his departure, Chameau expressed his pride in the Caltech faculty, students and staff, as well as various programs, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Chameau trumpeted accomplishments including the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover and a $900 million fundraising campaign.

Chameau said that it was a bittersweet time for him and his wife, but took pride in the school’s “disproportionate impact on science and society.”

A search committee will be formed to find a new president for Caltech.

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