KU announces new dean of engineering

photo by: Submitted

Mary Rezac

The University of Kansas on Thursday announced the next dean of the KU School of Engineering: Mary Rezac, currently serves as the dean of Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

“With her record of excellence in education and research and her commitment to growth and innovation, Mary will be a strong leader and valuable asset in advancing the success of the School of Engineering,” said Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor, in a news release. “I am excited to see how she will assist KU in accelerating research and discovery while ensuring we remain an exceptional learning community.”

Rezac said she looked forward to beginning her job, which will start on March 1, 2024.

“KU’s School of Engineering has a strong history of completing research that advances society while simultaneously serving to train the next generation of researchers,” Rezac said in the release. “I look forward to working collaboratively with faculty, staff, students and external industrial and governmental partners to craft a strategic plan for the school. Together we will build upon the school’s historic strengths and identify research focus areas that promote KU’s mission of lifting students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.”

As dean of Washington State’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, Rezac oversees seven academic schools and multiple research centers, as well as the college’s more than $80 million budget. In this role, Rezac has managed the expansion of faculty research productivity, establishment of multiple new undergraduate programs and implementation of programming focused on retention and diversity of undergraduate students. Rezac has also led corporate and government relations on behalf of the college, resulting in the college receiving millions in funding, and she developed strategies to fund a 10-year, $350 million capital building project, according to the release.

She previously worked at Kansas State University for 15 years in multiple positions, including interim associate vice president of research, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. She also was a faculty member of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemical Engineering.

Rezac has served on numerous policymaking groups, including the Council for Chemical Research, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the National Research Council. She holds multiple patents and has co-written more than 250 publications and presentations.

She earned a doctorate and master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Kansas State.

As the Journal-World reported last month, she was one of four finalists for the dean position.

She will replace Dean Arvin Agah, whose five-year appointment as dean ends in December. Agah announced at the beginning of the year that he would not seek another term as dean, but instead would remain on the faculty and return to teaching and research in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.


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