University of Washington picks geophysicist as next provost

SEATTLE (AP) — A geophysicist and expert on the Earth’s mantle has been selected as the University of Washington’s next provost.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Mark Richards, a professor of Earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, will replace Gerald Baldasty.

Baldasty is retiring June 30.

The provost is the university’s second-highest position, in charge of academics and the budget. University President Ana Mari Cauce served as provost before she was selected to lead the university.

Cauce called Richards “an outstanding academic leader” and “an accomplished scientist who has made it a mission to expand the diversity of the STEM fields.”

Richards is leading an international team that is exploring the Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions, which occurred in India 66 million years ago.