Edward S. Macias, PhD
For nearly 50 years, Ed Macias’ professional life has been focused on Washington University in St. Louis, where he has served in many key leadership roles, including 25 years as provost, the university’s chief academic officer.
Dr. Macias joined the Arts & Sciences faculty in 1970 as an assistant professor of chemistry and became a full professor in 1984. In the 1980s, he added administrative roles to his full-time teaching and research, serving as director of the Summer School and chair of the Department of Chemistry.
The author of two books and more than 90 articles, his research interests include environmental and nuclear chemistry, focusing on the chemistry and physics of atmospheric particles and the effect of these particles on haze and air pollution.
He pursued seminal research, including a study demonstrating that the atmospheric haze obscuring the Grand Canyon was made up of pollutants from Los Angeles.
In 1988, Dr. Macias was named university provost, a position he held until 2013. In 1995, he was named executive vice chancellor and dean of Arts & Sciences, the largest division on the Danforth Campus.
In his work as provost, he partnered closely with the deans of the university’s seven schools to promote diversity and to provide leadership in curriculum, budget and capital project development.
He was especially involved in cross-school collaborations, and he led the university on initiatives with online education. Dr. Macias, who now holds the title of provost emeritus, worked closely with senior administrators, including the chancellor and executive vice chancellors, bringing an academic voice to central decision making and strategic planning processes.
During his tenure as dean, Arts & Sciences advanced to the first tier of the nation’s best undergraduate and graduate liberal arts programs. Dr. Macias strengthened Arts & Sciences in many ways, including revising the undergraduate curriculum, which created more cross-disciplinary connections, emphasized writing and quantitative skills, and developed small seminar experiences for first-year students.
In 2004, he was installed as the inaugural holder of the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professorship in Arts & Sciences, a title he still holds as an emeritus professor.
Widely recognized as an academic leader, he assisted national and governmental institutions, including the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and Argonne National Laboratory.
He also regularly served on accreditation and review teams at other universities in the United States and was vice chair of the board for the Center for Research Libraries.
Dr. Macias earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Colgate University and a PhD in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a thesis on nuclear and atomic structure. Colgate awarded him an honorary degree in 2015.
A year after stepping down as dean of Arts & Sciences, he received the Dean’s Medal during the 2009 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards, an event that he inaugurated in 1998.
In 2014, the Board of Trustees established the Edward S. and Tedi Macias Professor in Arts & Sciences to honor Dr. Macias and his wife, Tedi, for the vital role they played in the university’s success.
Also active outside the university, he chairs the board of Casa de Salud, which provides clinical and mental health services for uninsured and underinsured patients, focusing on new immigrants and refugees who encounter barriers to accessing other sources of care.
He also serves on the boards of Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School, where two of his grandchildren attend; 2U, a company that partners with universities to deliver online masters degrees; and the St. Louis Mosaic Project, which boosts regional prosperity through immigration and innovation.
Dr. Macias recently ended his term on the academic advisory board of the Schwarzman Scholars Program, a prestigious scholarship program in China, and he is an emeritus member of the Colgate University board. Last fall he also ended his term on the board of the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which provides a free Shakespeare play in Forest Park each summer.
He and Tedi celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June 2017. They have two children, Julia and Matt, and four grandchildren. In addition to spending time with family, they also enjoy biking, hiking, swimming and sailing.