Stephen Welby

Steve WelbyStephen Welby serves as the deputy director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Welby leads an OSTP team focused on advancing the president's agenda by strengthening our nations long-term global competitiveness and reducing risk through the assessment, development, deployment, and governance of current and emerging technologies. In this role, he leads efforts to develop long-term national science and technology strategies, shape new investments in foundational technologies, modernize national security systems, ensure supply chain security, cultivate an agile innovation base, enhance export and investment controls, manage emergent risks and build the world's best STEM workforce.

He retired as executive director and chief operating officer of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) at the end of 2022. In this role he led the world’s largest not-for-profit technical professional organization, with operations in 160 countries, and oversaw its highly cited technical publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. Prior to joining IEEE, in 2015 Welby was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate as the assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. In this role, he served as the chief technology officer for the US Department of Defense and oversaw a $12.5 billion annual research investment portfolio. In 2009, Welby had been appointed by the President to serve as deputy assistant secretary of defense for systems engineering, leading the world’s largest engineering workforce and overseeing design reviews for all major US defense investments in air, land, sea, and space systems.

Welby has more than three decades of government and industrial experience in technology and product development leadership, including senior leadership positions at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). His technical experience includes development of leading edge aeronautical and space systems, robotics, machine learning systems, high-performance software, and novel sensor systems. He holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a master’s degree in business administration from the Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in computer science from The Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from The Johns Hopkins University.

He is the 2021 recipient of the CUAA Gano Dunn Award for professional achievement in engineering, a member of the Cooper Union Alumni Hall of Fame, a recipient of the US Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, and is a fellow of the IEEE.

Role: Alumni Trustee
Elected to the Board: June 2023
Class Term: 2027
Term Limit: 2027

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.