Sep 30, 2021 12:00 PM
Dean Matt O'Keefe, K-State College of Engineering
College of Engineering Update

April 3, 2020

MANHATTAN — An accomplished materials engineer and experienced administrator will become the next dean of the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University.

Matthew J. O'Keefe, executive director of the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Mississippi, has been appointed to the post by K-State Provost Charles Taber following a national search. As part of the appointment, O'Keefe will hold the LeRoy C. and Aileen H. Paslay Chair in Engineering. He will start his new duties on July 13.

As dean, O'Keefe will be responsible for the oversight and direction of the college's teaching, research, extension outreach, public engagement, fiscal stewardship and fundraising efforts. He will oversee the state's most comprehensive engineering school with more than 3,400 undergraduates and 400 graduate students, as well as more than 160 faculty involved with the college's 12 degree programs housed in eight departments.

O'Keefe has served in his current position since 2017 and provides administrative oversight of the center's personnel, facilities, operations and academics. The center's honors program serves more than 200 undergraduate students in accounting, business and engineering pursuing a minor in manufacturing, developing them into leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs of modern manufacturing. As its executive director, O'Keefe has increased the center's student enrollment and diversity by 10%, helped establish initial program endowments and expanded the number of degree programs associated with the center, among other accomplishments.

Before joining the University of Mississippi, O'Keefe was with the Missouri University of Science and Technology from 1999 to 2017 where he served as chair of the Department of Material Science and Engineering from 2016-2017. Under his leadership, he helped the department secure a $3 million estate gift and oversaw annual research expenditures of approximately $4 million. O'Keefe also served as director and senior investigator for Missouri S&T's Graduate Center for Materials Research from 2007-2016. The center accounts for 75% of patents and royalty income at the university. In addition, he was the interim assistant vice chancellor of global learning at Missouri S&T from 2015-2016.

O'Keefe began his career as a planning engineer with AT&T Microelectronics in Lee's Summit, Missouri, from 1985-1988, then transferred to AT&T Bell Laboratories in Allentown, Pennsylvania, conducting applied research and development for manufacturing locations from 1988-1990. He also worked as a materials research engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from 1990-1999.