In January 2015, Lewis M. Duncan assumed the office of provost of U.S. Naval War College.
Duncan formerly served as president of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., from 2004 to 2014, holding the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Professorship of Distinguished Presidential Leadership. He is an internationally recognized scholar in experimental space physics, presently chairing the board of directors of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, responsible for managing the U.S. National Laboratory of the International Space Station. He also serves as an authority on issues of international security and counterterrorism, and technology-enhanced online learning.
For the last nine years of Duncan’s presidency, Rollins was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 university in the South in its Carnegie classification. Rollins was also among the leaders in percentage of students who study abroad (more than 75 percent), including eight Fulbright scholars in 2014.
From 1998 to 2004, Duncan served as dean of engineering and professor of engineering sciences at the Thayer School of Engineering of Dartmouth College. He regularly taught a first-year seminar “Technology and the Future of Human Society,” and was awarded an honorary master of arts degree and selected for the honor of presenting the “Class of 2004 Lecture” to all entering Dartmouth first-year students.
Over his career, Duncan has held a rising progression of academic, administrative and national laboratory research positions. He served as provost and senior vice president (1994 to 1998), acting president (1996), and dean of engineering and natural sciences (1992 to 1994) at the University of Tulsa. In 1994, he launched the “Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge,” a student-faculty collaborative research initiative that has since yielded 46 student Goldwater Scholars and the 1998-1999 research university Carnegie National Professor of the Year.
From 1988 to 1992, Duncan served as professor of physics and associate dean for research at Clemson University’s College of Sciences, also chairing the university’s intellectual property rights committee and serving as founding director of the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium. In 1987 to 1988, he was selected as Carnegie Science Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control.
He began his professional career working as a research scientist (1977 to 1984) and then as section head (1984 to 1987) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the divisions of atmospheric sciences, physics, and earth and space sciences. Among his accomplishments, he was chief scientist for the design, development and spaceflight of a constellation of radiofrequency sensors for nuclear test detection now deployed on all GPS satellites.
Duncan is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi.
He received his B.A. (1973) in physics and mathematics, and M.A. (1976) and Ph.D. (1977) in space physics, all from Rice University.