Domenico Grasso, Ph.D.
Biography and Education
Domenico Grasso is the sixth chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Grasso’s career in higher education has been marked by significant contributions to university education, environmental research, enrollment management, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. Before joining UM-Dearborn he served as provost and chief academic officer at the University of Delaware, where he spearheaded efforts ranging from the creation of the Division of Enrollment Management and Institute for Financial Services Analytics to community engagement and cybersecurity initiatives. He was also instrumental in the development of new university programs in entrepreneurship, the humanities, social sciences and the arts. His research has focused on the ultimate fate of contaminants in the environment and has developed new techniques to reduce the risks to human health and natural resources associated with those contaminants.
An internationally recognized scholar, he has published over 150 papers, which have been cited thousands of times. Grasso began his academic career as a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Connecticut, where he also served as department head. He then moved to Smith College, holding posts as the Rosemary Bradford Hewlett Professor and founding director of Smith’s Picker Engineering Program — the first engineering program at a women’s college. Later, he served as dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and vice president for research at the University of Vermont.
Grasso also served as a NATO Fellow and on an international team of scholars funded by the World Bank that established the first environmental engineering program in Argentina. The Water Environment Federation has named him a “Pioneer in Disinfection.” He was vice-chair of the Science Advisory Board for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and was invited to address the Congress of the Republic of Peru. Along with US astronaut Sally Ride, Grasso was co-founder of TOYChallenge, a national toy design challenge for 5th-8th graders to excite them about science, engineering, and the design process in a fun, creative, collaborative process relevant to everyday life. He is a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors and Editor-in-Chief Quondam of the journal Environmental Engineering Science. Grasso also chaired the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee that authored the influential report Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century: Addressing Grand Challenges.
Grasso is a veteran of the United States Army, serving from 1977 to 1990, and resigned his commission as a major. He received awards that included the Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Reserve Components Training Ribbon, Army Commendation Medal and Army Parachutist Badge. He deployed as part of two REFORGERS, Certain Sentinel (1986) and Certain Challenge (1988).
Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.S., Purdue University
B.S., Worcester Polytechnic Institute