SPSU Office of the President
Building B
Suite 110                 
1100 South Marietta Pkwy
Marietta, GA 30060

Home >> Office of the President >> About President Rossbacher >> Biography


Lisa A. Rossbacher became the president of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA in 1998. She graduated from Dickinson College (Geology, summa cum laude), received masters degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton and Princeton University, and earned her Ph.D. (Geological and Geophysical Sciences) at Princeton University. She has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, a geothermal exploration company, and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Whittier College, and Dickinson College. She was the first woman geologist to become a university president in North America. Her bimonthly column has appeared in the magazine Geotimes (renamed Earth in 2008) since 1988, and she has authored books on geology, science, and the media.

Her research interests focus on the role of water and water ice on the planet Mars. In 1984, she was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut selection process. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate and to the status of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001; she was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2010.

Dr. Rossbacher was the 2009 Chairwoman of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and currently holds the position of Past Chair. She is active in the Marietta Kiwanis and a board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the American Council on Education's Commission on Women, and she is currently on the State Network Executive Board with ACE's Office of Women in Higher Education.  She is also a trustee of the Geological Society of America Foundation.