Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon


6th President of Tuskegee University

Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon served as president of Tuskegee University from November 1, 2010 to October 19, 2013. He was the sixth president of the institution since its founding by Booker T. Washington in 1881. He was also named university professor. Rochon was appointed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to serve on the Governor's College & Career Ready Task Force.

Previously, Rochon served as director of the Purdue Terrestrial Observatory, senior research scientist for the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing and associate vice president for Collaborative Research and Engagement at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.). He held courtesy faculty appointments in Purdue’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Agronomy, and Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. He is currently an adjunct professor in natural resources and environmental management at the Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand; IEEE senior member, chair of the Council of 1890 Universities and member of the Association for Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU) Board of Directors. 

Rochon’s formal training includes the Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in urban and regional planning, Master of Public Health degree in health services administration from Yale University School of Medicine, and bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. Rochon’s prior fellowships included: United Nations University (UNU) Fellow in Sudan, Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Unit, NASA/ASEE Fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center and at Stennis Space Center, and NASA/JOVE Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)/Caltech. His peer-reviewed publications have appeared as book chapters, as an entry in the Encyclopedia of Geography, Clean Technologies & Environmental Policy, International Journal of Climatology, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, and Journal of Terrestrial Observation. He has delivered over 100 presentations at conferences worldwide. He was a Fulbright Senior Specialist-Environmental Science in Thailand and was awarded a NATO Science for Peace grant for real-time remote sensing for early warning of disasters and epidemics in Morocco. Rochon was principal investigator (PI) for the USGS Indiana View grant, co-PI for an NGA grant to develop a real-time predictive framework for mosquito-borne diseases and was co-PI for a FEMA grant to develop 100-year flood models for 800 U.S. counties.

Prior to joining Purdue, Rochon was a research team leader — land use and hydrology with U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Lab and adjunct professor of urban planning at University of Cincinnati. From 1982-2000, Rochon was director/chair for urban studies and public policy at Dillard University in New Orleans, where he was a tenured associate professor and appointed to a Conrad Hilton Endowed Professorship. His joint appointments included: NASA, USDA Forest Service, EPA, NAVOCEANO and DOD HPCMO PET Program, under Northrop Grumman/Logicon sub-contracts. Previously, he held adjunct faculty appointments at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Indiana University Medical School and Miami University Ohio. He served on the User Working Group for NASA’s SEDAC, on the Science Review Panel for the Arctic Region Supercomputer Center and is currently on the Technology Advisory Committee for South Africa’s Center for High Performance Computing in Cape Town.

Rochon married Patricia Saul Rochon, MFA (Yale), former clinical assistant professor of digital media at Purdue University and executive producer, FAST TRACK and FAST TRACK TE INFORMA. They are the parents of Hildred Sarah Rochon, MPH, MS, a student at the Brown University Alpert School of Medicine (Providence, R.I.) and Emile Saul Rochon, a student at the University of Queensland School of Medicine (Brisbane, Australia). President Rochon is the son of Gilbert L. Rochon, Jr. (deceased) and Ursula Carrere Jupiter.