Florida A&M University and Florida State University this week named J. Murray Gibson as the new dean of its joint college of engineering.
According to a release, Dr. Gibson is nationally renowned researcher in the area of nanotechnology, and has served as a prolific grant writer and fundraiser in academic space. With more than $26 million in donations and sponsored research in excess of $100 million over the course of his career, Gibson says his primary goal in the new role will be to secure resources and to ensure a diverse pipeline of engineering experts from the school into a variety of science and technical industries.
“I am excited by the incredible promise of the unique partnership between FAMU and FSU,” said Gibson, who will hold a faculty appointment as a professor of mechanical engineering at FAMU. “At a time when higher education in America is under threat, our two proud universities with powerful alumni, dedicated staff, devoted faculty, eager students, and distinct missions are coming together to invigorate engineering research and education. No other college in the U.S. is better poised to address the chronic shortage of underrepresented engineers.”
Dr. Gibson’s appointment closes a national search which began in earnest last June, when former dean Yaw Yeboah resigned after a controversial swap of personnel and financial oversight of the joint school transitioned the dean position from classification as a Florida State employee to FAMU employee status, while FAMU transferred oversight of the joint school budget to FSU administration.
Officials said the transfer, which drew criticism from some FAMU stakeholders, was an effort to stabilize financial controls, which FAMU Chief of Staff Jimmy Miller described as problematic for FSU stakeholders.
“One of [FSU’s] main concerns was that bills were not being paid on time,” said Miller, who acquiesced that handling fiscal affairs is “one of their strengths, so we let them have that.”
The former founding dean of Northeastern University’s College of Science will begin his tenure in the FAMU-FSU joint school on July 1.