Mary Rezac named new dean of KU School of Engineering

Thu, 12/07/2023


Savannah Rattanavong

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has selected Mary Rezac as the next dean of the KU School of Engineering. Rezac currently serves as the dean of Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Her appointment as dean is effective March 1, 2024.

“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. “I am excited to see how she will assist KU in accelerating research and discovery while ensuring we remain an exceptional learning community.”

The School of Engineering’s mission is to give students a quality educational experience; generate and apply knowledge through research, development and scholarly activity; and serve society, the state and the engineering profession.

Mary Rezac has been named the next dean of the School of Engineering.

“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. “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.”

Rezac said she also looks forward to meeting with the school’s constituents early in her tenure, learning about the school’s strengths and ways she can support its various components.

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.

Rezac 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.

Rezac 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.

The School of Engineering dean, acting as the chief academic and administrative officer, is responsible for providing imaginative, dynamic and transformational leadership to ensure the school’s long-term success. This includes securing partnerships to advance the school’s mission; ensuring the school attracts and retains talented students, faculty and staff; overseeing the school’s approximately $34 million budget and more.

Rezac will be instrumental in KU's Ever Onward capital campaign, which will focus on securing support for engineering undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty researchers.

“I am excited and honored to be invited to serve as dean of KU's School of Engineering,” Rezac said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I appreciate that a degree in engineering can change the trajectory of a graduate.

“I have dedicated my career to ensuring that students succeed through the appropriate design of degree programs, training faculty on the best pedagogy and providing extracurricular support via learning centers, peer mentoring and career services. I look forward to working with the school's faculty and staff members to identify any unmet student needs and to implement programs to address them.”

The KU School of Engineering, an ABET-accredited public engineering school, was founded in 1891 and is the oldest engineering school in the state. Today it emphasizes interdisciplinary research, encouraging engineers and computer scientists from different disciplines to work together to provide innovative solutions to challenges around the world.

Photo: Mary Rezac has been named the next dean of the School of Engineering, effective March 1, 2024.

Thu, 12/07/2023


Savannah Rattanavong

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Savannah Rattanavong

Office of the Provost