ROHNERT PARK - Ruben Armiñana, president of  Sonoma State University, announced today that Dr. Saeid Rahimi, dean of the School of Science & Technology, will serve as interim provost, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer beginning July 1.

Current Provost Eduardo Ochoa is leaving SSU to serve as assistant secretary of education in President Obama's administration.

Dr. Rahimi joined the SSU faculty in 1982 and has served as dean since 2000. He has designed many new physics courses and laboratories and initiated a number of new programs in engineering science and the Summer High School Internship program.

He adopted the Math, Engineering and Science Achievement Program (MESA) for economically disadvantaged students; led the SSU student retention, satisfaction, and graduation initiatives and efforts; oversaw the academic transition of the School of Natural Sciences to the School of Science & Technology as well as the academic transition of the school through the $30 million renovation of Darwin Hall.

Dr. Rahimi secured millions of dollars of research and development grants through federal, state, and local agencies, organizations and individuals and was instrumental in securing the donation of the 3,600 acres Galbreath Wildlands Preserve and creating the new SSU Field Stations and Nature Preserves organization. He has been awarded excellence in teaching and education awards from Pennsylvania State University, Sonoma State University, and Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

"Dr. Rahimi's many initiatives and innovations have heightened the educational experience for our students and brought deserved attention to our faculty for their research and teaching. The framework he and his faculty developed for the School of Science & Technology has led directly to student success, both educationally and professionally," said President Armiñana.

Dr. Rahimi has represented SSU in various North Bay forums and organizations including the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board and the Sonoma County Innovation Council. He was the recipient of the Sonoma Spirit Award.

He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Shiraz University in Iran, his Ph.D. in solid state physics from Pennsylvania State University in 1981 and completed post doctoral research at the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology. He also holds the position of professor of physics and engineering science at SSU.