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Morgan Woos Top Scientist As New Science Dean

picture of Doctor Hongtao Yu
photo credit: Charles A. Smith/Jackson State University

Morgan State University President David Wilson announced today the appointment of Hongtao Yu as dean of the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS). He comes to Morgan from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Yu to the administrative team at Morgan,” said President Wilson. “This is a critical time for minorities in the STEM fields in America and Morgan is playing an important role in helping to educate a diverse group of future scientists. We believe Dr. Yu comes to us well-prepared to provide the kind of leadership that will drive Morgan’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences to have an even greater impact on the production of minority scientists and mathematicians.”

Dr. Yu is a faculty member and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Jackson State. His department has been ranked among the top 50 chemistry departments in the nation, a distinction achieved by no other HBCU in the nation. He has been recognized for his vision and dedication towards recruiting, developing relationships with high schools and other colleges, developing faculty and student mentorship programs, and for assisting students in the pursuit of advanced degrees. Outside of his university responsibilities, he also served as President of the Mississippi Academy of Science.

Dr. Yu received his baccalaureate degree from the Department of Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China (1982); his master’s degree from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (1986); and, his doctorate (Ph.D.) from the Institute for Organic and Biochemistry, Technical University of Munich, Germany (1990).

Among Dr. Yu’s numerous awards and honors is the 2011 Stanley C. Israel (Southeast) Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences, the HBCU Pioneer Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), the Mississippi State Legislature HEADWAE Outstanding Faculty Honoree Award, and the National ChemLuminary Award for “Best Activity with Underrepresented Minority Students and/or Organizations” from the American Chemical Society.

“We are excited to have attracted someone of Dr. Yu’s caliber to lead our science programs,” said President Wilson. “Our vision is to become the top research HBCU in the country over the next five-to-ten years. With the recent appointment of Dr. Michael Spencer for engineering and now Dr. Yu for the sciences, I believe we are closer to that goal. In fact, I plan to make the case to the state legislature for a $125-million appropriation to construct at Morgan a new, world-class, state of the art science and innovation complex.”

Morgan’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS) serves as home for five of the University’s academic departments (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science) and offers a variety of academic programs within these disciplines. SCMNS also offers students eight undergraduate programs, five graduate programs, four research programs; three research centers; and two all-encompassing student support programs. SCMNS also houses two professional programs that fully equip students for careers in medical technology and actuarial science. Dr. Alvin Kennedy has served as interim dean of the school for the last two years. Dr. Yu’s appointment is effective August 25, 2016.

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. More information about the university is available at www.morgan.edu.

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