Dr. Nariman Farvardin is the seventh president of Stevens Institute of Technology, having joined Stevens in July 2011 after a 27-year career as a faculty member and academic administrator culminating as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Maryland. This year marks the tenth anniversary of President Farvardin’s tenure at Stevens. During the past decade, he has led a remarkable university-wide transformation that has resulted in a dramatic ascent in rankings and stature, enrollment growth, improved student academic profile and success, alumni engagement, philanthropic support, modernized and expanded IT and campus infrastructure, and a strengthened financial profile.
Under his leadership and with broad participation by all university stakeholders, Stevens undertook the development of a 10-year strategic plan entitled, The Future. Ours to Create. Launched in 2012, it set a goal for Stevens to become “a premier, student-centric, technological research university.” Now in its penultimate year of implementation, Stevens has met or exceeded nearly all of its goals. Since 2011, undergraduate applications have increased 214%, while undergraduate enrollment has also increased 68%. Notably, Stevens surpassed its undergraduate enrollment target of 4,000 one year ahead of the strategic plan goal. The academic profile of new undergraduates is the highest in Stevens’ history, evidenced by a 147-point increase in the median SAT score of incoming freshmen. The number of women undergraduates has increased by 98%, while the number of underrepresented minorities (URM) has grown 150%. The graduation rate has increased nine points, to 87%, and the percentage of graduates who secure employment or enter graduate school within six months of graduation rose to 95%, with an average starting salary of $77,000. Graduate applications have also increased 270% while full-time equivalent graduate enrollment has increased 72%, including a transition from a majority of part-time graduate students to a majority of full-time students. The size of the faculty complement has also grown by 36%, and Stevens has experienced a 97% increase in research award funding.
Financial metrics have also improved significantly, including a 53.2% increase in operating revenue; an upgraded S&P credit rating; a 13% increase in undergraduate alumni donor participation and a 370% increase in annual philanthropic support, along with a 93% increase in the size of the endowment. A revitalized philanthropy and alumni engagement program has resulted in the successful completion of the $200 million Power of Stevens fundraising campaign—which surpassed its initial $150 million goal more than six months ahead of schedule. In the last year alone, gifts and pledges increased nearly $8.6 million over the previous year.
Since 2011, $462 million in capital investments have resulted in the transformation of the campus IT enterprise from archaic to state-of-the-art, and the renovation, modernization, and expansion of a large percentage of Stevens’ academic and student spaces. One hundred percent of classrooms have been renovated and upgraded with new technology; new academic spaces and learning laboratories have opened including the Gateway Academic Center, a 90,000 square-foot ultramodern academic building, the North Building, the ABS Engineering Center, the Lore-El Center for Women’s Leadership, the Hanlon Financial Systems Lab and the Hanlon Lab for Financial Analytics and Data Visualization; the Babbio Garage Expansion was completed; the Schaefer Athletic Center lobby was renovated; the Ruesterholz Admissions Center was completely remodeled; and renovations were completed for a new Student Wellness Center. Construction is nearing completion for the iconic, new 21-story University Center Complex, which will house 1,000 students and open in spring 2022.
Stevens’ upward trajectory has earned recognition and accolades from external agencies and organizations. In 2020, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association recognized the Stevens ACES (Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science) program, created under the direction of President Farvardin, to increase STEM educational and career opportunities for URM and underserved students, with its Diversity and Inclusion Award. Stevens ACES also won the New Jersey Tech Council’s 2019 Innovation in Education Award. Stevens’ achievements in sustainability initiatives in both the classroom and campus operations earned the university a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in 2020. In March 2018, President Farvardin accepted the American Council on Education (ACE)/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation in recognition of the innovative and dramatic changes that Stevens made in a relatively brief period. In September 2017, President Farvardin was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, and Stevens was highlighted in Forbes as “The Turnaround University” and “one of the most desirable STEM colleges in the nation.” In November 2016, President Farvardin was named “Educator of the Year” by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, and in October 2013, he was named “CEO of the Year” for non-profit organizations by the New Jersey Tech Council (NJTC), the state’s premier trade association for technology companies. In 2015, the NJTC also honored Stevens with its Knowledge is Power award. Under President Farvardin’s leadership, Stevens’ rankings have improved in the last 10 years. U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 "Best Colleges" edition placed Stevens at #80 among national universities, making Stevens among the fastest rising universities in the United States, while The Princeton Review included Stevens on its list of “Best 387 Colleges” and as #9 on its list of “Top 20 Best Career Placement” in 2021. Also, Stevens’ ranking in the Payscale College ROI Report increased from #31 to #12 from 2011 to 2020.
President Farvardin has launched a number of signature programs during his tenure at Stevens. He was the driving force and inspiration behind Stevens’ participation in the highly competitive U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition, in which Stevens won first place in 2015 for its SU+RE (Sustainable+Resilient) House, a net-zero energy house inspired by New Jersey’s challenges during Hurricane Sandy. The House is now on permanent exhibit at the Liberty Science Center. Additionally, he has positioned Stevens as a sustainability leader due to the implementation of a renewable energy initiative, sustainable building protocols, research, and academic programs. These efforts have resulted in Stevens achieving an AASHE Stars GOLD rating, silver and gold LEED building certifications, and inclusion on recent sustainability lists such as the Princeton Review Green Schools and Sierra Club Cool Schools. Beginning in fall 2021, Stevens joins an exclusive cohort of universities electing to run on 100% clean electricity.
Other initiatives President Farvardin has launched include: the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings to campus the world’s most distinguished thought leaders in science and technology to create debate and spur discussion on the role of technology and its implications in 21st century society; the President’s Special Lecture Series on Pandemics which featured talks by a wide range of intellectuals on the scientific, technological, historical, political, cultural, and economic aspects of pandemics; OnStage at Stevens, a performing arts series featuring the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra which welcomes members of the Stevens community and friends from Hoboken and the New York metropolitan region; and StevensConnects, a multi-faceted partnership to bring Stevens’ intellectual, cultural, and volunteer resources to bear on the Hoboken community. With support of President Farvardin, several new research centers and entrepreneurial programs have been established at Stevens including the Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies, the first-ever NSF-backed fintech research center, which Stevens is co-leading with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence, an interdisciplinary, tech-driven collaboration of engineering, business, systems and design experts; and the Stevens Venture Center, an environment to launch and support students’ and faculty’s new technology-based businesses. Additionally, exclusive entrepreneurship training programs for students such as [email protected], Launchpad, and the Innovation Expo have been established at Stevens as well as several programs to nurture and support talented students including the Clark Scholars program, the Pinnacle Scholars program and Stevens ACES. Under President Farvardin’s leadership, the School of Technology Management was transformed into a comprehensive and AACSB-accredited School of Business and the School of Systems and Enterprises underwent a thorough review and reorganization.
Regular engagement with students is an integral and rewarding element of President Farvardin’s tenure. He teaches a freshman seminar course on Technology and Leadership; hosts monthly “Pancakes with the President” breakfasts with groups of students; and meets periodically with members of student organizations.
President Farvardin serves in leadership positions on a number of technology, higher education and business-oriented organizations. He served as Chairman of the New Jersey President’s Council Task Force on Alignment of Higher Education Programs and New Jersey Workforce Needs. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of TechUnited (formerly the New Jersey Tech Council) and previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the Board of Directors of the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF). In 2018, he was appointed by Governor Murphy to the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology.
Dr. Farvardin is an accomplished researcher in the areas of information theory and coding, multimedia signal compression and transmission, high-speed networks, and wireless networks. He has made significant contributions to a number of communications standards and practical systems in data communication, image and video compression, and voice coding in wireless applications. He holds seven U.S. patents in data communication, image coding, and wireless communication. He also co-founded two companies: Zagros Networks, a venture-funded fabless semiconductor company; and NovaTherm Technologies, a high-tech start-up company that develops technologies to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Recognized for his research in communications and information theory, Dr. Farvardin is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic innovators who are named on a patent issued by the USPTO and who have contributed to the invention of products, goods and services which have positively impacted quality of life, economic development and welfare of society. A Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Dr. Farvardin served as associate editor for two IEEE publications: Transactions on Communications, from 1986 to 1990, and Transactions on Information Theory, from 1992 to 1995. He has co-authored more than 150 technical papers in journals and conference proceedings. He is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
Dr. Farvardin joined Stevens from the University of Maryland, where he was a member of the faculty for 27 years. He served as the University of Maryland’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost from 2007 to 2011, having previously served as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Among Dr. Farvardin’s accomplishments at the University of Maryland was spearheading the development and implementation of the University of Maryland’s ambitious strategic plan, Transforming Maryland: Higher Expectations.
He was selected by the Governor of Maryland to serve on the state’s task forces for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Nano-biotechnology, and he chaired the University System of Maryland’s Task Force on Cybersecurity. He has also served on a number of special panels organized by the National Science Foundation, National Research Council, U.S. Department of Commerce, and National Council of Entrepreneurial Technology Transfer.
In recognition of his contributions to technology education and his support of innovation and entrepreneurship, Dr. Farvardin was featured in The Washington Post as one of the “Five to Watch” in 2003. Among his honors are the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award, the George Corcoran Award for Outstanding Contributions to Electrical Engineering Education, and the University of Maryland’s Invention of the Year Award in Information Sciences.
A native of Tehran, Iran, Dr. Farvardin earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, in 1979, 1980, and 1983, respectively.
Updated September 2021