University welcomes new Provost

The University named Dr. Thomas J. LeBlanc as the new Executive Vice President and Provost on May 5.

The Provost serves as the University’s chief academic and budget officer, overseeing a variety of aspects that range from research funding to admissions and expenditures.

“We are delighted to have Tom LeBlanc, an energetic, gifted academic leader as well as a seasoned administrator, assume the position of Executive Vice President and Provost of the University,” said President Donna E. Shalala in a statement.

Before assuming his new post on July 1, Dr. LeBlanc was Vice Provost and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty at the University of Rochester in New York, There, Dr. LeBlanc oversaw divisions such as student services, admissions and the merger of the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

“Joining the University of Miami is an exciting challenge and a great opportunity,” Dr. LeBlanc said in the statement. “It’s a private research university, which is my world, and the University is a central part of an exciting and booming region.”

His first job will be to get to know the institution, Dr. LeBlanc said in a phone interview.

“Research universities tend to be very complex -their people, history, campus, departments,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Dr. LeBlanc said he has already looked broadly at the University, which has more schools than his previous institution. The University of Rochester, with an undergraduate student body of 3,700, was “more personalized,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “But the principles are the same.”

The University of Miami has an undergraduate body of around 9,500.

At Rochester, Dr. LeBlanc took part in implementing a new undergraduate curriculum, restructuring advising and improving undergraduate recruitment, among other things.

University administrators took part in the search of the new provost and said they were happy with the choice.

“We’re very pleased with the results of this search,” said Dennis O. Lynch, dean of the UM School of Law and chair of the search committee. “We’re confident that Tom LeBlanc will be an excellent provost.”

The new provost said he wants to continue improving recruitment and retention at UM.

“There needs to be a precise articulation of what Miami offers compared to the competition,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “We need to make sure that the University delivers to the students.”

Dr. LeBlanc, a tenured professor of computer science, said he would not be teaching right away to take time to learn the ropes of the University.

The new provost, who lived one year in Brazil, speaks Portuguese and has studied Spanish. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982.

Dr. LeBlanc, 49, is moving to Miami with his wife Anne Marie. They have two sons, Brian, a student at Rice University, and David, a student at the University of Rochester.

Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at