Jeffrey S. Vitter became the 17th chancellor of the University of Mississippi on Jan. 1, 2016 — just in time for the exciting Ole Miss win in the 2016 Sugar Bowl.
A renowned computer scientist and academic leader, Vitter previously served for five and a half years as provost, executive vice chancellor, and Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas. As provost, Vitter served as the chief academic and operations officer for the main campus in Lawrence and the Edwards campus in Overland Park. He initiated and co-led the campus-wide development of KU’s strategic plan Bold Aspirations and oversaw the creation of the first-ever university-wide KU Core curriculum, expansion of the Schools of Engineering and Business, multidisciplinary research and funding around four strategic initiatives, major growth of technology commercialization and corporate partnerships, and administrative reorganization and efficiencies.
Before joining KU, Vitter was on the faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. At Texas A&M, he served as provost and executive vice president for academics and oversaw the academic mission of the university in Galveston, Texas, and Doha, Qatar.
From 2002 to 2008, Vitter served as the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science and professor of computer science at Purdue University, where he led the development of two strategic plans, establishing a dual focus of excellence in core departments and in multidisciplinary collaborations. He oversaw net growth in the college by roughly 60 faculty members and launched the collaborative design of an innovative outcomes-based curriculum.
At Duke University, Vitter held a distinguished professorship as the Gilbert, Louis and Edward Lehrman Professor. He served for eight and a half years as chair of the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and led it to significant gains in ratings.
From 1980 through 1992, Vitter progressed through the faculty ranks and served in various leadership roles in the Department of Computer Science at Brown University.
Dr. Vitter’s research expertise deals with big data and data science, especially the algorithmic aspects of processing, compressing, and communicating massive amounts of information. He has been elected a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, a Fulbright Scholar, and an IBM Faculty Development Awardee.
A native of New Orleans, Vitter graduated in mathematics with highest honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and earned a Ph.D. under Don Knuth in computer science at Stanford University in 1980. He also holds an MBA in 2002 from Duke University.
Dr. Vitter's wife Sharon is a native Kansan and alumna of KU. Their three children, Jillian, Scott, and Audrey, were born in Providence, RI and are Notre Dame alumni. Jillian, who also received a medical degree from Georgetown University, is chief resident in anesthesia at the University of Colorado. Scott, a former U.S. Army Ranger, is a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Audrey is an associate with G.E. Corporate Audit Staff in Greenville, SC. All are huge sports fans.