March 9, 2014 12:08:38 AM
Mississippi State University formally named Swalm School of Chemical Engineering Director Jason Keith as the Bagley College of Engineering's dean Thursday.
Keith assumed the role March 1 after an internal email obtained last month by The Dispatch showed former Dean Achille Messac would transfer this month to a tenured professor position.
Keith joined MSU three years ago as the director of chemical engineering and has also directed the MSU Energy Institute for the last seven months.
"We are confident that Dr. Keith will help us maintain the momentum of the Bagley College of Engineering in gaining greater national and international recognition for the great work of our faculty, staff and students," said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert in a university press release Thursday.
"I came to Mississippi State because of the quality of the institution, the faculty and staff, and the facilities available to teach and perform multidisciplinary research," Keith said in the same release. "The fact that my family loves college athletics and a small college-town atmosphere in a warm climate helped sell the idea to my family. We love MSU."
Keith previously spent 11 years as a Michigan Technological University faculty member. He received a chemical engineering bachelor's degree from the University of Akron and a chemical engineering doctoral degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Messac, MSU's first African American dean, was hired from Syracuse University in 2013. It is unknown why he transitioned out of his role.
School officials previously declined to comment on the timetable or nature of an expected search for a long-term dean.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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