Robert William Leland, Ph.D.




South High School





Robert William Leland, Ph.D. ('81) is a dedicated research scientist and department manager for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM where he heads the Parallel Computing Science division. Dr. Leland is recognized as a world authority in parallel computing, which involves using multiple computers to solve problems requiring unusual capacity and speed. He helped develop and patent Chaco, an advanced research software package that has become a standard of reference and is licensed for used at research sites worldwide.

Dr. Leland received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in England, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. As an undergraduate, he attended Michigan State University on a full four-year scholarship, graduating summa cum laude in 1985 with a degree in engineering. In 1995, he was one of 14 people selected nationwide to become a White House Fellow, an award based on academic, professional, and civic achievement.

Appointed by President Clinton, Dr. Leland served for one year in the Department of Treasury where he worked to analyze and help correct problems with outdated computers in the Internal Revenue Service. Dr. Leland is a nationally ranked ballroom dancer, an ultra-marathoner, mountain climber and violinist. He also teaches math and science as a volunteer in the Albuquerque public schools.

During his high school years at South, Leland played tennis, ran cross-country and taught swimming in Amherst recreational programs. He was an Eagle Scout, a member of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, and the Valedictorian for his graduating class.