As we reach the middle of the semester, I know that many of you are happy to see spring break on the calendar, and I hope that you will have some time to enjoy it. Spring is always a busy time of year on our campus, and this year is no exception. Our faculty and staff are making significant contributions to our overall research program, garnering national and international recognition, and advancing our land-grant mission for the state of Mississippi and beyond. It is a great time to be a part of Mississippi State University, and I appreciate your efforts on behalf of our research and economic development enterprise. Please let me share a few items:
Composites in Transportation Symposium on campus March 14-15
Later this month, we will bring together industry, government and academia for the first-ever Composites in Transportation Symposium at MSU. Taking place March 14-15 at Colvard Student Union, participants will discuss collaboration opportunities for advancing composites technologies — modeling, design and manufacturing — and training a skilled workforce. Dr. Ratan Jha, director of the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, along with MSU researchers and our Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer (OETT), will host the special event. For more information, please contact Ms. Jo McKenzie at Raspet at 662-325-3797.
Investing in Innovation Day in April
Our second-annual Investing in Innovation Day, or I3 Day, will celebrate innovation on our campus on April 5 as part of Innovation Week, featuring Patent Recipient Awards, Business Plan Competition Finale, presentations by MSU Extension, OETT and others. There will also be technology and start-up company poster sessions. Sponsors include the Office of Research and Economic Development, OETT, MAFES and the College of Business, as well as private contributors. The theme of this year's event is "Inventing Solutions." Numerous business plan competitions will be held throughout the week leading up to Friday and the main events of I3 Day. Contact Sheree or Donna in OETT at 662-325-8223 for additional information.
SEC visiting faculty travel grants awarded
You may be surprised to find that the Southeastern Conference supports research as well as athletics, but it does. The SEC supported the competitive award of four $2,500 grants to faculty at MSU to travel to another SEC campus for the purpose of an exchange of ideas, develop grant proposals, conduct research, meet with peers and students, and/or give lectures or other presentations. Congratulations to our 2013 SEC visiting faculty travel grant recipients Richard Baird, Matthew Berg, Islam El-adaway and Giselle Thibaudeau.
Supporting Oktibbeha County School District students
As you may have read in a recent Starkville Daily News story, our university is working with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and Oktibbeha County School District to boost student achievement and raise graduation rates among students in the district. I appreciate the efforts of the College of Education, the Research and Curriculum Unit, the Early Childhood Institute and others for their efforts and applaud their commitment to these students. Ultimately, we want to help develop high-performing schools in Oktibbeha County, as well as anywhere else in our state where our expertise and resources could be utilized at the request of MDE.
Kudos to our faculty and staff
A highlight of my job is to learn about the outstanding work that our faculty, staff and administrators do on a daily basis, and then to share their honors and awards with you every month. Here are a few that have come across my desk recently:
* Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, has been selected president-elect for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He will serve in this role until he becomes president of the association in July 2013. The association represents more than 4,000 faculty, 5,000 staff, 10,000 veterinary students, and 3,000 graduate students. This appointment brings great recognition to our university and the work within CVM.
* Dr. Mark Novotny, Physics and Astronomy department head, has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in Physics for his efforts to advance science and its applications. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, he also recently was named a Dynasty Foundation Visiting Scientist.
* The Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Department has had a number of achievements that they shared with me. Among them: The newly elected leadership of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society are all alumni of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture at MSU. Dr. Donald Jackson received the C.A. Schultz Conservation Award from the Mississippi chapter of the American Fisheries Society, and Dr. Kevin Hunt received an award for his service to the chapter. Additionally, Dr. Wes Neal has been elected president-elect of the chapter. Dr. Steve Demarais was named the 2012 Wildlife Conservationist of the Year by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation.
* Dr. Lou D’Abramo, dean of the Graduate School and associate vice president for academic affairs and an MSU Giles Distinguished Professor, was named a Fellow of the World Aquaculture Society for his contributions to the advancement of global aquaculture. He is one of three experts elected as fellows in 2013 to honor outstanding achievements in aquaculture science, industry, outreach or extension.
* Dr. Bill Herndon, associate vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, received the 2013 Southern Agricultural Economics Associate Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes significant and enduring contributions in scholarship or public service to agricultural economics in the South.
* Dr. Li Zhang, associate professor in Civil Engineering, has been named to an emergency evacuations task force of the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Research Council. This 26-member task force focuses on preparing for emergency evacuations from natural or man-made hazards.
Let me again thank you for your efforts on behalf of Mississippi State. Your hard work is paying tremendous dividends that benefit the entire university community. In closing, I want you to know that MSU’s research expenditures — an important benchmark for determining research activity and productivity — totaled $233 million in 2012. That amount is the highest we have ever achieved at MSU, and it is a testament to each of you. Thank you!
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Mississippi State University