Timothy Sands

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Timothy Sands
16th President of Virginia Tech
Assumed office
June 1, 2014
Preceded by Charles Steger
Provost of Purdue University
In office
April 1, 2010 – May 31, 2014
Preceded by Randy Woodson
Succeeded by Debasish Dutta
Acting President of Purdue University
In office
July 1, 2012 – January 14, 2013
Preceded by France Cordova
Succeeded by Mitch Daniels
Personal details
Born Timothy David Sands
(1958-03-26) March 26, 1958 (age 57)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Spouse(s) Laura Prouty Sands
Alma mater UC Berkeley (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.)
Website www.president.vt.edu

Timothy D. Sands (born March 26, 1958) is an American materials engineer, researcher and the 16th President of Virginia Tech.[1] Sands previously served as the Acting President and as the Provost of Purdue University.


Sands earned his B.S. with Highest Honors of Engineering Physics in 1980, his M.S. of Material Science and Engineering in 1981, and his Ph.D. of Material Science and Engineering in 1984 all from the University of California, Berkeley.[2]

Current research[edit]

Sands has published more than 260 papers and has 16 patents in nanotechnology and microelectronics. Sands' current research focus is on the development of novel nanocomposite materials for environmentally friendly and cost-effective solid-state lighting, direct conversion of heat to electrical power and thermoelectric refrigeration.[3] Sands is considered a leader in the field of Light-emitting Diodes or LEDs.[4]


Sands began his career with an internship as a researcher at the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), now known as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado where he focused his efforts on renewable energy research. Following his graduation from U.C. Berkeley's doctoral program in Materials Science and Engineering in 1984, Sands continued his career as a member of the technical staff with the New Jersey based technology firm, Bellcore, now known as Telcordia. In 1991, Sands became the Director of the Thin Films and Interface Science Research Group and in 1992 became the Director of the Nonvolatile Memory Research Group.[5]

UC Berkeley[edit]

Sands left industry in 1993 to return to academia as a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering department at his alma mater, U.C. Berkeley. In 1997, Sands became the Chair of the Applied Science & Technology Graduate Group at U.C. Berkeley.

Purdue University[edit]

In 2002, Sands left U.C. Berkeley for Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to join the engineering faculty as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering. In 2006, Sands was tapped to lead the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the centerpiece of Purdue University's Discovery Park, as Director.[5] In 2010, Sands was appointed by Purdue University's Board of Trustees as Purdue University's Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.[5] In June 2012, Sands was appointed acting President of the Purdue University system following the retirement of Purdue University's 11th president, France Cordova, until President-elect and then current Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, stepped down at the end of his gubernatorial term.[6] As acting President, Sands presided over Purdue's West Lafayette and regional campuses. In January 2013, Sands returned to his current role as Provost where he is responsible for all of Purdue's schools and colleges across campuses.

Virginia Tech[edit]

On December 6, 2013, Sands was announced as Virginia Tech's 16th president effective June 1, 2014.

Honors and Awards[edit]

In 2009 and 2010, Sands was honored as a Fellow of both the Materials Research Society (MRS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), respectively.[5] In 2013, Sands was honored as a Charter Fellow in the 101-member inaugural class of the National Academy of Inventors alongside 8 Nobel Laureates, 14 presidents of research universities, and 53 members of national academies.[7] Sands is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and Tau Beta Pi.[5]


Sands is married to Laura Sands, Purdue University's Katherine Birck Professor of Nursing. The Sands have four children, all of which are Purdue graduates.[4][8]


  1. ^ Hinckner, Lawrence (December 6, 2013). "Board of visitors appoints Timothy D. Sands as next president of Virginia Tech". Virginia Tech News. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Archived from the original on April 2, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Sands, Timothy. "Timothy Sands". Purdue University. Purdue University. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Timothy D. Sands". Purdue University. Purdue University. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Weddle, Eric (Aug 8, 2012). "Meet Purdue's acting president, Tim Sands". Journal & Courier. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Sands, Timothy. "CURRICULUM VITAE". Purdue University. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Purdue University - Academic Affairs and Provost". Purdue.edu. 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  7. ^ National Academy of Inventors, Top Scientists and Innovators honored by National Academy of Inventors, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/07/nai-2012-fellows-idUSnPnDC37896+160+PRN20130107
  8. ^ "School of Nursing Personnel - Laura Prouty Sands". Purdue University. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 

External links[edit]