Mary Rezac, who has served as dean of the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture since 2017, is receiving a five-year contract extension.
“Dr. Rezac is a strong leader who has overseen several important developments for the college and university,” said Elizabeth Chilton, provost and executive vice president. “That she has agreed to extend her leadership role at WSU for the foreseeable future is fantastic for Voiland faculty, staff, and students as well as the university system as a whole.”
Under Rezac’s tenure, Voiland has seen improvements to its student recruitment and retention efforts as well as the expansion of its research and fundraising.
The college has seen its first-year retention of engineering students improve from 83% to 95% during Rezac’s tenure, for example, while hitting enrollment highs prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Voiland ranks second among all WSU colleges in undergraduate enrollment and has seen significant improvements in representation among women and other under-represented student groups.
Voiland has seen its research funding and publications increase with Rezac at the helm, allowing it to maintain its fiscal health amid turbulent headwinds across higher education. The college has become a leader in catalysis research and has fostered significant relationships with partner organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.
Rezac was also instrumental in securing funding for the new Schweitzer Engineering Hall, beginning with a $20 million gift from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. The new building will serve as Voiland’s central hub for students to innovate and collaborate with their colleagues and faculty en route to successful careers after graduate.
Rezac earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Kansas State University in 1987. She followed that by earning her masters and Ph.D. in the same field at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1994, Rezac joined Georgia Institute of Technology as a professor, where she spent eight years. In 2002, she returned to Kansas State and held several roles over the next decade, including head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and director of major grant initiates with its College of Engineering.