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Released April 23, 2004

By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi has completed its search for the leadership of its reorganized academic structure with the selection of Dr. Pete Fos as dean of the Southern Miss College of Health.

Fos currently serves as chief science officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health, and in that capacity also serves as senior deputy to the state health officer and oversees the Offices of Science and Evaluation and Health Decision Science. He also has an extensive background in academics, having held both faculty and administrative posts at several universities, including Tulane University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Prior to working in academics, he practiced general dentistry in the New Orleans area for approximately 10 years.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to come to Southern Miss, in part because of the exciting opportunities presented by the new College of Health," Fos said. "I believe my experience working at the state level, combined with my background in academics, gives me a well-rounded perspective that can provide the college with the leadership to help make the university a better place for our faculty, staff and students."

Last year, Southern Miss changed its academic structure from nine colleges to five, resulting in administrative savings costs of more than $1 million, the majority of which was reallocated into instruction.

"We welcome Dr. Fos to the university's administrative team," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames. "We're fortunate to have someone with his vast and varied expertise to lead the College of Health."

Thames expressed his appreciation to Dr. Joan Exline for her service as interim dean of the college.

"We're grateful to Dr. Exline for her leadership as interim dean," Thames said. "We look forward to her continued service in the future as a member of the college's faculty, as she puts her outstanding skills as an educator to work, helping students prepare for rewarding futures in their chosen careers."

Dr. Rex Gandy, dean of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology, chaired the search committee that selected Fos. He commended the search committee for developing "an outstanding list of finalists" for the post.

"The pool of dean applicants for the College of Health was very strong," Gandy said. "President Thames and Provost (Tim) Hudson deserve praise for recruiting Dr. Fos to Southern Miss. He brings a wealth of experience in academia and health administration to the position."

Fos holds a bachelor's degree from the University of New Orleans and earned his D.D.S. from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry. He also received a master of public health and a doctorate from Tulane University.

Hudson also cited Fos' diverse background in clinical, research and academic settings as a strong asset for leadership of the college.

"His creativity and enthusiasm will serve Southern Miss well as he leads the College of Health toward what will no doubt be an exciting future filled with opportunities for students, faculty, staff and stakeholders," Hudson said.


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April 27, 2004 10:10 AM