John Overdeck Elected Chair of the IAS Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study has elected as its next Chair John Overdeck, a philanthropist and business leader who has brought rigorous inquiry, data analysis, and invention to the highest levels of corporate America.
Overdeck, a dedicated supporter of the Institute and its mission of advancing knowledge and making discoveries that benefit humanity, has served as a Trustee and co-chair of the Investment Committee since 2015.
He succeeds Charles Simonyi, who served as Chair since 2008, acting as a generous supporter, steady leader, and fierce advocate for the Institute’s global role as a home for free, independent, and groundbreaking research. Simonyi joined the Board in 1997, and will continue to serve as a Trustee following his time as Chair.
“John has been a valued colleague on the Board, who loves the Institute. He has brought his extraordinary talents to overseeing the Institute’s investments, and his keen foresight to the Institute’s strategic direction,” Simonyi said. “I look forward to him bringing his energy, rigor, and insights to the Chair’s role.”
David Nirenberg, IAS Director and Leon Levy Professor, credited Simonyi for his exceptional support of foundational research and helping the Institute stay true to its mission in a rapidly changing world. He said Overdeck is an ideal successor to the role.
“The Institute has been extraordinarily fortunate to have two leaders on our Board who share the same fierce commitment to discovery and to giving our scholars the support, conditions, and freedom to do their best work,” Nirenberg said. “I am deeply grateful to Charles for his many years of wise leadership, and his unwavering support as I came on board, and I look forward to carrying that strong partnership forward with John.”
Overdeck grew up with a love for mathematics. As a high schooler, he won a silver medal at the 27th International Mathematical Olympiad. While at Stanford University, he received an undergraduate degree in mathematics with distinction, before undertaking doctoral studies in statistics as a National Science Foundation graduate fellow.
Overdeck then took his training to the corporate world, serving as a managing director at D.E. Shaw & Co. and later as a Technical Assistant to the CEO and a Vice President at Amazon.com. In 2001, he co-founded Two Sigma, where he presently serves as co-Chair as well as Chief Investment Officer of Two Sigma Investments.
In 2011, he founded Overdeck Family Foundation, which aims to measurably enhance education both inside and outside the classroom. He has held leadership positions on the boards of the National Museum of Mathematics, Robin Hood Foundation, Hamilton Insurance Group, and Bedtime Math Foundation.
“I have always believed in the power of ideas and discovery to impact lives and change the world, and there is no finer an example of that than the Institute,” said Overdeck. “It is an honor to serve IAS and to work with my fellow Trustees and Institute leadership to create a home where scholarship can thrive, especially as the questions in front of us rapidly evolve.”
Following Overdeck’s election at the meeting Saturday, Trustees approved a resolution expressing its gratitude to Simonyi and highlighting his visionary leadership. Among his many accomplishments as Chair, Simonyi worked with three IAS Directors to advance various strategic projects for the Institute, including the construction of new academic and residential facilities, a campuswide renewable energy system, and the expansion of School programs and enrollment. As a generous benefactor and advocate, his example served to solidify IAS as a global center for independent, groundbreaking research and reinforced a trajectory of stable growth through the recession and global pandemic. The Board will continue to value Simonyi’s astute guidance in the years to come.
About the Institute
The Institute for Advanced Study has served the world as one of the leading independent centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry since its establishment in 1930, advancing the frontiers of knowledge across the sciences and humanities. From the work of founding IAS faculty such as Albert Einstein and John von Neumann to that of the foremost thinkers of the present, the IAS is dedicated to enabling curiosity-driven exploration and fundamental discovery.
Each year, the Institute welcomes more than 200 of the world’s most promising post-doctoral researchers and scholars who are selected and mentored by a permanent Faculty, each of whom are preeminent leaders in their fields. Among present and past Faculty and Members there have been 35 Nobel Laureates, 44 of the 62 Fields Medalists, and 23 of the 26 Abel Prize Laureates, as well as many MacArthur Fellows and Wolf Prize winners.