Apr 11, 2022 - Business

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier talks Vanderbilt's next phase

Vanderbilt chancellor Daniel Diermeier stands in a suit
Vanderbilt University chancellor Daniel Diermeier. Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt

Two years after becoming chancellor at Vanderbilt University, Daniel Diermeier wants to invest in "pockets" of the institution that have not achieved international acclaim.

  • Diermeier tells Axios there is room for improvement in some graduate programs. He also highlighted a renewed focus on athletics, which is getting $300 million in infrastructure upgrades.

Why it matters: Diermeier's perspective signals the next wave of priorities for one of the city's most powerful institutions.

  • He says the business school, economics department and computer science field are among the areas that could benefit from a push.

What he's saying: "We've made progress, but we're not all the way there."

  • "I don't have a sense of, 'Oh my God, this is broken.' I have a sense of, like, proud but not satisfied. This is great. Now, what's next?" Diermeier says.

Driving the news: Vanderbilt celebrated Diermeier last weekend with a formal investiture ceremony commemorating his arrival.

State of play: Diermeier says Vanderbilt will emerge from the pandemic prepared to double down on high-profile research.

  • At the height of the pandemic, he launched a $100 million initiative to attract new faculty. That helped fund an expansion of the computer science department last fall.
  • "This was actually an opportunity to bring talent because nobody else was hiring," he says.

Flash forward: Diermeier wants to deepen partnerships in the city and state.

  • He says the university could be a part of the region's economic development.

For example, he says, Vanderbilt's excellence in biomedical sciences should be a flare to companies looking for new locations.

  • "We have enormous talent in the biomedical space at Vanderbilt alone, but we don't have a thriving biomedical ecosystem," he says.
  • "We want to make investments on that."
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