Cynthia Barnhart

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Cynthia Barnhart
6th Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Assumed office
Preceded byW. Eric Grimson
Personal details
BornBarre, Vermont
Spouse(s)Mark Baribeau
EducationUniversity of Vermont (B.S.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsCivil engineering of transportation systems
ThesisA network-based primal-dual solution methodology for the multi-commodity network flow problem (1988)

Cynthia Barnhart (born 1959) is an American civil engineer and academic. She is the Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,[1] the first woman to hold that position,[2] succeeding W. Eric Grimson in 2014. Barnhart's work focuses on transportation and operations research, specifically specializing in developing models, optimization methods and decision support systems for large-scale transportation problems. She also is a professor in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and is an associate dean of the School of Engineering, serving a brief tenure as interim dean of engineering from 2010 to 2011.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Barnhart was born in Barre, Vermont. She received her B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Vermont in 1981,[4] going on to earn her M. S in transportation in 1985, and civil engineering Ph.D in 1988 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[3][5][6] She spent two years working at Bechtel, a firm in Washington, D.C., as a planning engineer for the city's subway system.

Academic career[edit]

After graduation, Barnhart worked as an assistant professor at the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology before returning to MIT as an assistant professor in 1992, eventually becoming a full professor in 2002.[3] At MIT she has served as co-director of the Center for Transportation and Logistics, co-director of the Operations Research Center, and director of Transportation@MIT.

She is the Ford Foundation Professor of Engineering at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a join appointment at the Engineering Systems Division.

Barnhart was appointed as the 6th[7] Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014, succeeding W. Eric Grimson, a professor of Computer Science and Engineering.


  • INFORMS Award for the Advancement of Women in Operations Research and Management Science.[8]
  • 2003 Franz Edelman prize for excellence in operations research and management sciences (2nd-place).[9]
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation


  1. ^ "MIT - Faculty - Cynthia Barnhart". Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, MIT. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  2. ^ "#UofTGrad16: Engineering leader Cynthia Barnhart". University of Toronto News. June 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  3. ^ a b c Bradt, Steve (February 3, 2014). "Martin Schmidt named provost; Cynthia Barnhart named chancellor". MIT News. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  4. ^ Vermont, University of. "Board of Trustees : University of Vermont". Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  5. ^ "Cynthia Barnhart '81". Vermont Quarterly. University of Vermont. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  6. ^ Barnhart, Cynthia (1988). A network-based primal-dual solution methodology for the multi-commodity network flow problem (Ph.D.). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. OCLC 19948957 – via ProQuest. (Subscription required (help)).
  7. ^ "MIT History | Office of the MIT Chancellor". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  8. ^ INFORMS. "Cynthia Barnhart". INFORMS. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  9. ^ INFORMS. "Franz Edelman Laureates: Class of 2003". INFORMS. Retrieved 2018-11-02.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Eric Grimson
Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2014 – present