Eric F. Spina has served as president of the University of Dayton since July 1, 2016. Under his leadership, the University is charting a path toward becoming known as “The University for the Common Good.”
An engaged, energetic leader, Dr. Spina has made investments in initiatives targeted toward increasing diversity and accessibility, key strategic focal areas of his presidency. During his tenure, UD’s student body has grown in size, become more racially and economically diverse, and increased in academic quality. Respectful of the University’s role as an anchor institution in Dayton, Dr. Spina has entered into three innovative collaborations that will dramatically shape redevelopment downtown and on the southern edge of the city.
Nationally, he serves on the steering committee of the American Talent Initiative, a collaborative of universities with high graduation rates that are dedicated to substantially expanding opportunity and access for low- and moderate-income students. He is a member of the NCAA Presidential Forum and serves on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Before taking the leadership helm at the University of Dayton, Dr. Spina developed a stellar reputation for scholarship, teaching and research at Syracuse University, where he served as vice chancellor and provost for nearly nine years of his 28-year tenure.
He began his career at Syracuse as a faculty member in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, earned tenure and was named chair of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Manufacturing Engineering. In 2003, he was appointed the Douglas D. Danforth dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, a position he held until his appointment as interim vice chancellor and provost in July 2006 and vice chancellor and provost in 2007. In 2013, Dr. Spina also served as interim chancellor and president.
As a mechanical and aerospace engineer, Dr. Spina has more than 20 years of research experience in experimental fluid mechanics. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA and EPA.
He holds two U.S. patents, has published more than 30 refereed archival and conference papers, and has edited books and conference proceedings. His most important work is on the physics of high-speed turbulent boundary layers, which culminated in a paper in the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. Dr. Spina also played a leading role in developing university and state initiatives in indoor environmental quality and environmental quality systems at Syracuse, and helped to secure more than $100 million to support this work.
In recognition of his work, Syracuse awarded Dr. Spina one of its highest honors — the Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to the University’s Academic Programs. Dr. Spina has also been honored by NASA and the National Science Foundation and received numerous department, college and University teaching awards.
A Roman Catholic and native of Buffalo, New York, Dr. Spina graduated from Canisius High School, a Jesuit school. He earned a Ph.D. and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree with university honors in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
He and his wife, Karen, have two children, daughter Kaitlyn and son Emery.