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Released June 23, 2004


In an effort to further expand on The University of Southern Mississippi's record growth in economic development and research, Southern Miss' president, Dr. Shelby Thames, has named Dr. Angeline Dvorak as full-time president of the university's Research Foundation effective July 1, 2004. Dvorak has served as the president of this organization as a part of her responsibilities as vice president of research and economic development at Southern Miss.

After becoming president of the university in 2002, Thames added the pursuit of economic development endeavors to the university's mission and vision. "In the past two years, we have outgrown our economic development model," said Thames. "It is now time to retool our model so we can continue to grow."

Thames hailed Dvorak's successful leadership in increasing the foundation's assets and the university's funding for research in her two years as an administrator at Southern Miss.

"Since Dr. Dvorak came on board in August 2002, the net assets of the Research Foundation have grown from $10,000 to $39 million," Thames said. "She's done this while leading a research office that has seen significant increases for the past two consecutive years, and while coming under some personal fire. I find that amazing and impressive beyond belief."

Dvorak will spend the majority of her time working on Research Foundation activities, including spearheading the development of the Innovation and Commercialization Park and establishing partnerships between the university and business and industry. She will continue to manage the university's intellectual property portfolio and all licensing transactions.

"Innovation-based economic development is truly my passion," said Dvorak. "With the growth of our university's efforts in economic development, it makes perfect sense to take our commitment to the next level by making this transition. With this change in focus, I can spend more of my time working on economic development projects that will benefit the university, our community and the state as we push forward in this technology-based economy."

Dr. Cecil Burge will become the vice president for research and economic development at Southern Miss. Burge has most recently served as associate vice president for research and technology transfer at the university.

"Dr. Burge has forgotten more about research than most people ever know to begin with," said Thames. "He has impeccable character and his devotion to this institution is unparalleled."

From the novice faculty researcher to the functions of chief research officer, Burge has obtained experience in virtually every position and role associated with the research enterprise since he joined Southern Miss in 1970. His involvement includes serving in various administrative positions such as technology transfer officer, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and associate vice president for research.

As a faculty researcher, he has conducted numerous externally sponsored projects in the areas of rural health care delivery, applications of mobile communications technology, software engineering and technology-based economic development. Projects in his portfolio have included organizationally challenging efforts crossing multiple agencies, states, disciplines and universities. Many of these projects have involved university consortia and academic-industrial-government partnerships.

As a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science, he led the effort to obtain Southern Miss' first accreditation in computer science and later served on the national accrediting agency, the Computer Sciences Accreditation Board. Burge holds a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University and is a registered professional engineer.

A national search will be held for the position of associate vice president for research and economic development. The following people will be asked to serve on the search committee: Dr. Ed Jackson of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, incoming chair of the University Research Council; Dr. Mitch Berman, associate professor and assistant dean of the College of Education and Psychology; Dr. Agnes Hinton, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Health; Dr. David Butler, assistant professor of economic development; Dr. Rex Gandy, dean of the College of Science and Technology; Dr. Vernon Asper, professor in the Department of Marine Science; Doug Hancock, account manager of Sponsored Program Administration; and Michelle Shows, assistant director of Sponsored Program Administration.

The Research Foundation Board of Directors includes Brad Brian, Burge, Dr. Jim Evans, Jan Lacy and Lawrence Warren. Lacy will serve as liaison to the USM Foundation, where she is serving in her first year of a three-year term. The 2005-2006 board members will be announced in fall 2004.


Fact Sheet:

• The University of Southern Mississippi's Research Foundation's sole mission is to promote research and research-related activity.

• The Research Foundation offices are located at 3610 Pearl Street. This building was refurbished with money allocated by the 2003 Mississippi State Legislature to support Southern Miss' efforts in economic development.

Board Members of the Foundation
Lawrence Warren
Dr. Cecil Burge
Dr. Jim Evans
Jan Lacy
Brad Brian

The Research Foundation's certified public accounting firm is Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC of Ridgeland, Miss. The Research Foundation's audit will be released in the 2004-2005 annual report.


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June 23, 2004 3:58 PM