From University of Illinois to Ohio University, Matt Ando takes helm at College of Arts and Sciences
Matt Ando traded a university sprawled across the prairies of Illinois for one nestled in the foothills of Appalachian Ohio.
He can still run without encountering hills — as long as he follows the Hocking River as it wraps around Ohio University, the oldest land-grant campus in the Northwest Territories.
When Ando arrived in Athens, Ohio, this summer, he settled into an office on College Green—in a 186-year-old building made of red bricks fired from local clay.
His high-speed tempo fits in nicely with an R1 university whose College of Arts and Sciences graduates more than 1,100 students a year — from bachelor’s degrees to Ph.D.s, from the humanities to the sciences — and boasts facilities including an ion-beam accelerator, the latest mass spectrometer, scanning tunneling microscopes, as well as dynamic centers for impactful scholarship and student engagement including the Center for Law, Justice and Culture, the Center for Intervention Research in Schools, and the Center for International Studies.
Matt Ando’s journey
Ando has wide experience in academic leadership, including initiatives to enhance student success, build infrastructure and institutes, improve hiring, and reform budgeting.
A professor of mathematics by training, Ando spent six years as an associate dean at the University of Illinois (U of I) at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he found a passion for bringing diverse people and disciplines together to solve problems.
At the U of I, he convened a team that secured National Science Foundation funding to bring four Illinois universities together in the Institute of Mathematical and Statistical Innovation — to accelerate the translation of applied mathematical and statistical techniques into solutions for urgent scientific and societal problems.
He helped develop the strategy for a $192 million project to renovate one building and replace another for the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics. And while he was chair, U of I Mathematics won the Award for Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department from the American Mathematical Society.
What else would you expect from a scholar whose research brings together strands from mathematics and physics, including number theory, topology, and quantum field theory?
Ando’s academic journey started with an A.B. in Mathematics with a Certificate in Linguistics from Princeton University, followed by a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at MIT and Johns Hopkins University, and an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Virginia.
He joined the University of Illinois in 1999 as an assistant professor of mathematics and served in several positions, including chair of the Department of Mathematics from 2011-2017.
“Dr. Matthew Ando stood out due to his combination of experience, knowledge and vision for the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs. “An award-winning teacher and researcher, he has led several university-wide initiatives that benefitted faculty and students at Illinois.”
Ando has won numerous awards for his work, including the Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and the Executive Officer Distinguished Leadership Award, both from the University of Illinois. He also is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.