Dr. France Córdova, Purdue’s eleventh president, has had a distinguished career in scientific research and academic leadership. In 2007, Dr. Córdova became the first woman and the first minority appointed as President of Purdue University. Among Purdue’s many accomplishments during her tenure are a doubling of the number of research awards, the formation of the College of Health and Human Services, development of an Office of Engagement, creation of the Global Policy Research Institute, and establishment of the Honors College.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Córdova served as Chancellor of the University of California Riverside where the campus earned a reputation for being one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation. Prior to that, she was Vice Chancellor of Research at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1996 to 2002.
Dr. Córdova’s leadership has been recognized through her appointment to many important governing and advisory boards, including the Smithsonian Board of Regents (on which she will begin a three year term as chair in January), the National Science Board, the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, the Science Applications International Corporation Board of Directors, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Córdova’s research accomplishments are equally compelling. Her expertise is in observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space instrumentation, and she has over one hundred publications to her name.
Dr. Córdova began her research career at Los Alamos National Laboratory where she rose to the position of Deputy Group Leader in the Space Astronomy & Astrophysics Group. In 1989 she was appointed Department Head and Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University, a position she held until she was selected to serve as NASA’s chief scientist in 1993. She was the first woman to hold that position, and received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1996. Dr. Córdova is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates from Loyola- Marymount University and Ben Gurion University of the Negev.