One of Virginia Tech’s top administrators is leaving the school to take a similar position at Purdue University.

Theresa Mayer, Tech’s vice president for research and innovation, was named Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships Wednesday, and will start her new job Aug. 1.

“We welcome our distinguished alumna Dr. Mayer back to campus. An outstanding researcher and proven successful administrator, we think Theresa has all the qualities to lead our research programs to more new records and even greater success,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a news release.

Mayer has been the Tech administrator overseeing research and innovation since 2016. She’s a 1988 graduate of Tech and later received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue.

Before coming back to Tech as an administrator she had been a faculty member and administrator at Penn State for more than two decades.

Mayer has overseen a number of big changes at the university.

She has been credited in helping lead Tech’s efforts in developing its Northern Virginia Innovation Campus. She’s shifted the university’s strategy in monetizing research.

She also oversaw research when Tech Biocomplexity Institute Director Chris Barrett left Tech for the University of Virginia and has since led efforts to shutter that institute and merge some of its services into the Fralin Life Sciences Institute.

Purdue, the university where Tech President Tim Sands was formerly provost and interim president, is ahead of Virginia Tech in the National Science Foundation’s research and development rankings at No. 37, while Tech is No. 46.

“Purdue’s research and scholarship is already among the strongest and most comprehensive in the nation and the world, and planned strategic investments across the university are positioning it for even greater advances in the future,” Mayer said in a news release. “I am thrilled and honored to return to Purdue to serve as the next executive vice president for research and partnerships at this critical time for public land-grant universities.”

Tech has not yet named an interim replacement for Mayer upon her exit, but will so soon, according to a school spokesman.

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Robby Korth covers higher education, primarily Virginia Tech.

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