Dear Caroline Community,

We are delighted to announce that Stanley C. Ahalt, Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute, has been named the inaugural Dean of the new School of Data Science and Society at Carolina. Ahalt’s long experience with RENCI – a collaboration between Carolina, North Carolina State University and Duke University – prepared him well for this new role in establishing the vision and academic mission of a collaborative center for data science. The school will be emblematic of Carolina’s collaborative culture and how faculty solve big problems through a cross-disciplinary team approach.

The School of Data Science and Society will draw on the talents of world-class faculty across disciplines and focus on the foundations and applications of data science to improve lives in North Carolina and around the world. The new school will also prepare students for a changing workplace and help attract and retain competitive employers in our state. As inaugural Dean, Ahalt will recruit and retain distinguished faculty and staff, bring together diverse expertise, foster innovation, and foster collaboration that benefits the next generation of data science scholars.

Planning for this venture is a cross-campus effort that has been in the works for years. with the full support of the university’s board of trustees. The school will launch this fall with its first class of graduates in 2026. We are grateful to everyone involved in the planning process and in particular for the dedicated work of the school’s implementation team led by Jay Aikat, Chief Operating Officer of RENCI and Senior Associate Dean of SDSS. .

Since joining RENCI in 2009, Ahalt has advanced data science at Carolina by integrating it into the College of Arts and Sciences curriculum and helped launch Carolina’s health informatics program at the School of Information and Library Science. He has served on many former data science initiative planning committees and the current School of Data Science and Society Task Force. Additionally, Ahalt helped launch the National Consortium for Data Science, a public-private partnership to support a 21st century data-driven economy and iRODS, an open-source data management software.

Also a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the College of Arts & Science and associate director of computer science and data science at the North Carolina Institute for Translational and Clinical Sciences, Ahalt is well versed in teamwork. He is passionate about applying data science to address pressing challenges in healthcare and in environmental and justice issues. Ahalt also helped secure $34.5 million in funding for complex data science grants that position Carolina as a leader in this field.

Before coming to Carolina, Ahalt was executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center from 2003 to 2009 and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ohio State University for more than two decades. He earned a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clemson University.

We would like to thank Jaye Cable, Senior Associate Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the College of Arts and Sciences, and the members of the search committee for their work in identifying the best candidates for this position. We are also grateful to Ashok Krishnamurthy, Deputy Director of RENCI, Computer Science Research Professor and Director of Biomedical Informatics at NC TraCS, for his role as Acting Director of RENCI.

We believe that Stan’s passion for using a team approach in applying data science to society’s greatest challenges makes him the ideal choice to lead our new School of Data Science and company as we prepare to launch this fall. Please join us in congratulating him on this crucial role that will help shape the future of North Carolina and beyond.

Sincerely,

Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Chancellor

J. Christopher Clemens
Provost and Director of Studies

David L. Boliek Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Directors