The Rectorate is one of USI’s central bodies together with the University Council and the Academic Senate. The Rectorate, led by the Rector, ensures the overall smooth functioning of the University and elaborates planning and development acts.


Members and functions

The Rectorate comprises of the Rector, the Secretary General, the Director of Operations, and the Pro-rectors. Its functions are stated in the Statute of the Università della Svizzera italiana (in Italian). 


Current members

Luisa Lambertini


Luisa Lambertini is Rector of Università della Svizzera italiana and Professor of International Finance at EPFL and at USI. She has been Associate Vice-President of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), at the head of the Doctoral School (with 2400 students and 22 programmes) and of continuing education. Professor Lambertini has held the chair of International Finance at EPFL since 2009, which she arrived at after a brilliant academic career developed at prestigious American universities such as the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and Boston College. A world-renowned expert in the fields of international finance, macroeconomics and political economy, she has worked with a number of major international institutions, notably as an advisor to the European Central Bank (Fiscal Policy Division), the Federal Reserve Bank and the Swiss National Bank. She was president of the International Banking, Economics and Finance Association (IBEFA). For many years she chaired the WISH Foundation (Women in Sciences and the Humanities) at EPFL, inaugurating innovative initiatives, financed by private donations, to promote women's careers in research. Professor Lambertini was born in Bologna, she is a Swiss and Italian citizen, she is married to Prof. Demetri Psaltis and she has a daughter.

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Fabio Crestani

Pro-Rector for Internationalisation

Fabio Crestani has been a full professor at USI Faculty of Informatics since January 2007. Before coming to Lugano, he was (full) Professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (UK) since 2000. During that time he was a Visiting Professor at IMAG (France), and spent a year sabbatical at UC Berkeley (USA) and Xerox PARC (USA). In 1997-1999 he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow (UK), at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley (USA), and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK). Earlier, in 1992-97 he was Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Engineering of the University of Padova (Italy). While at USI, Fabio Crestani held a Catedra de Excellencia at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain), an Isambard Kingdom Brunell Fellowship at the University of Portsmouth (UK) and spent sabbaticals at Yahoo! (USA) and the National Intitute of Informatics in Tokyo (Japan). Fabio Crestani holds a degree in Statistics from the University of Padova (Italy) and an MSc and PhD in Computing Science from the University of Glasgow (UK). His main research areas are Information Retrieval, Text Mining and Digital Libraries. He has authored one book, co-edited 14 and published over 300 articles. He was editor-in-chief of Information Processing and Management (Elsevier) from 2008 to 2015 and is still a member of the editorial board of a number of journals.

Personal page and contact


Gabriele Balbi

Pro-Rector for Education and Students' Experience

Gabriele Balbi is Full Professor in Media Studies at the Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG), Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, USI Università della Svizzera italiana (Switzerland). At this institution, he is Pro-Rector for Education and Students' Experience, program director of the Bachelor in Communication, director of the China Media Observatory, and vice director of the Institute of Media and Journalism. Furthermore, he is Vice-Chair of ICA Communication History Division. He received a BA and MA in Communication Sciences at the University of Turin (Italy) in 2002 and 2004 and a PhD in Communication Sciences and Social History of Communication at USI in 2008. He has been lecturer and visiting professor at several universities: Harvard, Maastricht, Columbia, Westminster, Oxford, Northumbria, Perugia, Augsburg, and Concordia. His main research area is media history.

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Patrick Gagliardini

Pro-Rector for Research

Patrick Gagliardini (1974) is Full Professor of Econometrics at USI Faculty of Economics. In 1998 he graduated in Physics at the Polytechnical School in Zurich (ETHZ). In 2003 he earned a PhD from the Faculty of Economics of USI with his thesis in Econometrics on the modelling of nonlinear dynamics. He then spent a year in Paris as visiting fellow at the Laboratoire de Finance-Assurance of CREST (Paris) with a SNSF research grant. Between 2004 and 2006 he held an assistant professor position at the Faculty of Economics of University of St. Gallen, and between 2008 and 2012 he served as Junior Chair of the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI). He also served as Dean of USI Faculty of Economics from September 2015 until August 2019. His research interests focus on econometrics and especially financial econometrics, and the results of his research have been published in the main scientific journals in the field. Since 2017 he has been a Fellow of the Society for Financial Econometrics (SoFiE). Patrick Gagliardini is Pro-Rector for Research from September 2019.

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Luca Maria Gambardella

Pro-Rector for Innovation and Corporate Relations

Luca Maria Gambardella holds a degree in Informatics and a PhD in engineering sciences and technology, developing a strong interest in artificial intelligence. In Lugano, he is Full Professor at the USI Faculty of Informatics and IDSIA ( Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence USI-SUPSI), an institute of 90 people that he directed for 25 years until 2020, and also the Director of the USI Master in Artificial Intelligence. Gambardella has published more than 300 publications (google-scholar, h-index 72, > 58000 citations) and is studying machine learning and developing algorithms inspired by the behaviour of ants applied to logistic problems. He has successfully negotiated, conducted and implemented several artificial intelligence and machine learning projects funded by Swiss and international research agencies and companies. He is co-founder of Artificialy SA, a company based in Lugano where he holds the position of Chief Technology Officer. He writes novels and creates digital art installations.

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Sonja Hildebrand

Pro-Rector for Sustainability and Equal Opportunities

Sonja Hildebrand is Full Professor for the History of modern and contemporary architecture at USI Academy of Architecture and member of the Board of the Institute of the History and Theory of Art and Architecture (ISA). She obtained her PhD in Art History at TU München in 1997 where she habilitated in 2008. Before joining USI in 2011 she held research and teaching positions at TU München, Universität Bamberg, Universität Zürich and ETH Zürich. She was Vice Dean for Research at the Academy of Architecture from 2017 to 2020 and served her Faculty and USI in various functions, amongst others as a co-President of the Accademy Doctoral Board, member of the Accademy Teaching Commission and USI Research Commission. Her research focuses on the history of architectural culture and theory of the 19th and 20th centuries. She was responsible for various research projects at TU München, ETH Zürich and USI funded by the SNSF and other Swiss and German research agencies. Currently she leads an SNSF project on Gottfried Semper’s main theoretical work „Der Stil“ (with Philip Ursprung, ETH Zürich). She published widely on the history of modern architecture and urbanism, architectural theory and education. Her publications include two monographs and ten edited volumes.

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Giovanni Zavaritt

Secretary General

Giovanni Zavaritt (1979) holds a PhD in Political Communication and an Executive Master of Science in Communications Management. From 2014 to 2019 he was Head of Communication at USI. Since 2015 he has been member of the Board of the Science et Cité foundation. Giovanni Zavaritt is Secretary General of USI from September 2019.

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Marvin Blumer

Director of Operations

Marvin Blumer (1981, Swiss citizen), after his high school diploma from the Scuola cantonale di commercio in Bellinzona, in 2005 graduated in Business Economics from the University of Basel, and in 2015 earned an Executive MBA from HEC Lausanne with a focus on Management and Corporate Finance. Prior to his appointment at USI he gained several years of experience working for global companies, where he took on important responsibilities and gained extensive experience in the markets of the EMEA region. Marvin Blumer is Director of Operations of USI from April 2023, 1st.

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Former Rectors and Pro-rectors


  • Boas Erez, former Rector (1 September 2016 - 9 May 2022)



  • Lorenzo Cantoni, former Pro-rector for Education and Students' Experience (1 October 2018 - 31 December 2023) and Deputy Rector (9 May 2022 - 30 June 2023)
  • Giorgio Margaritondo, former Adjunct Pro-Rector (22 April 2022 - 10 January 2023)
  • Daniela Mondini, former Pro-rector for Research in the Humanities and Equal Opportunities (1 January 2017 - 31 December 2020)
  • Michele Lanza, former Pro-rector for Information Development (1 January 2017 - 30 September 2019)
  • Cesare Alippi, former Pro-rector for Internationalisation (11 December 2020 - 8 March 2024)