Office of the Provost

Provost Mark Richards

Provost Mark Richards 2018 portrait

Provost Mark Richards

Mark Richards joined the University of Washington as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on July 1, 2018. A geophysicist, Richards also holds a faculty appointment in the College of the Environment’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences. As provost, he is the University’s chief academic and budget officer.

Richards came to the UW from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was professor of Earth and Planetary Science. While at Berkeley, he served as dean of mathematical and physical sciences, and simultaneously as executive dean of the College of Letters and Science. For his work on racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the STEM fields, Richards received Berkeley’s two highest awards for promoting equity and inclusion.

Richards’ research is focused on dynamic processes in the interior of the Earth and the terrestrial planets, and how these processes affect geological phenomena such as plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions. His work includes observational, experimental and computational methods. Richards is currently leading an international team exploring the enormous Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions in India 66 million years ago, which coincided with the great Chicxulub (Yucatán, Mexico) meteor impact and the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, Richards earned his masters in applied physics and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech, followed by a postdoc at the Australian National University. He served on the faculties of the University of Oregon and, in 1993, at the UW.