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Released May 19, 2004


STENNIS SPACE CENTER -- The University of Southern Mississippi has chosen an experienced earth scientist and veteran naval officer to take the helm at its Center of Higher Learning at the John C. Stennis Space Center.

Capt. Joseph W. Swaykos comes to Southern Miss from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he is chairman of the Oceanography Department.

"Captain Swaykos is the perfect fit for this position," said Dr. Shelby Thames, president of Southern Miss. "His skills and experience will serve the CHL well as it continues to meet the academic needs of Stennis. We are glad to have him on board and look forward to the advancements he will make."

Dr. Jay Grimes, provost for Southern Miss Gulf Coast, said Swaykos' education and experience will serve him well in his new position. "His background in earth sciences merges well with the mission of the space center to understand and protect our home planet. That ability to speak the same language will be invaluable to him as he assumes his new role."

A native of Bloomfield, N.J., Swaykos earned a bachelor's degree in oceanography, a master's degree in systems management, and a master's degree in meteorology and oceanography.

"My 28-year career in the Navy has been wonderful," Swaykos said. "Now I look forward to beginning my 'new career' with another great team - Southern Miss and the CHL at Stennis Space Center. I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected to serve as director."

Swaykos' military awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is married to the former Linda Anne Baiamonte of Toms River, N.J., and they have three children.

Swaykos begins his new duties as director of the Center of Higher Learning on July 16.

The Center of Higher Learning has a dual mission of offering advanced degrees and conducting research to complement and support the agencies at Stennis Space Center. The advanced degrees include three doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, and one certificate program. The research areas, which include high-performance computing and algorithms, and geospatial data, have been greatly enhanced by the addition of a new visualization center in October.


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May 21, 2004 3:59 PM