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2019 Power 50: Laurie Leshin

Laurie Leshin President Worcester Polytechnic Institute Residence: Worcester Colleges: Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology
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Leshin has called WPI’s small satellite in Boston’s Seaport District a wormhole back to the school’s main campus in Worcester. The space analogy is an apt one for someone who spent most of her career becoming WPI’s first female president as a NASA scientist.

It’s also a reminder of how Leshin and WPI have worked to better connect the school and its home city to all Boston has to offer with neighborhoods of tech companies and talented and well-educated workforce. Leshin has led WPI since 2014, a time during which the school has built the $49-million Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Hall, with 140 beds and floors of lab and study space, and helped foster local startups; roughly a dozen companies with connections to WPI have opened in the last year.

Where is the Central Mass. community headed? WPI is part of the renaissance of this amazing college town. In April, we hosted a celebration for Worcester wooing the Red Sox organization and, as part of that, WPI’s partnership with the ballclub as its academic technology advisor; the next day I was invited to a city press conference for an app created for the city’s Department of Public Health by WPI students to help residents navigate social services.

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