Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
As we complete our fall term and turn the page on the 2022 calendar year, it would be prudent to take a retro-introspective of the year. So, what do we see? Here is a video representation of the S&T student experience in 2022. Programmatically, we have accomplished significant milestones. Here are just a few of the key initiatives completed in 2022:
- We launched the Kummer College of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development in July with three inaugural departments: business and information technology, economics, and engineering management and systems engineering. The Kummer College is poised for growth as we expand our academic offerings through those departments and add new programs.
- We successfully recruited and onboarded two of our four directors for the Kummer Centers of Excellence. Dr. Richard Billo joined us last January from the University of Notre Dame, when he became director of the Kummer Center for Advanced Manufacturing. He is leading many of the initiatives related to our Manufacture Missouri Ecosystem. Earlier this month, Dr. Donald Wunsch II became director of the Kummer Center for Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. Dr. Wunsch is busy developing new programs in AI and related areas, and we look forward to much progress in this realm in 2023.
- We launched the Ignition Grants Initiative to spur the development of big ideas among our faculty. Established through a $500,000 allocation from the Kummer Institute, the initiative provides seed funding for multidisciplinary teams to pursue research ideas expected to yield multimillion-dollar grants as well as ideas to transform teaching and learning.
- One of the most important ways we can reach tomorrow’s college students and STEM leaders is through our renowned summer camps. This year marked the successful return of fully in-person camps, and under the leadership of Courtney Jones, director of our Kummer Center for STEM Education, our camps were bursting at the seams with students and activities! Courtney and her team also worked with corporations and other organizations to provide scholarships for those from economically disadvantaged homes, and even for some students who were essentially homeless. Stay tuned for 2023 summer camps, which will be even bigger and better! Registration opens in January.
- The STEM Center also hosted a series of other outreach activities, including field trips to campus like the popular annual Expanding Your Horizons program, which draws hundreds of girls to S&T each fall. Also, for the first time in 2022, we hosted a National STEM Day event that attracted nearly 1,000 K-12 students to S&T, where our faculty and students put on over 50 different workshops. Plans are underway for even more STEM activities this coming semester, with registration now open for Celebrating Diversity in STEM on Feb. 10 and, soon, registration for May the Fourth Be With You (on May 4, of course).
- Last spring, we broke ground on our Innovation Lab. This phenomenal new facility is scheduled to open next fall and will be a home for student creativity, entrepreneurship and possibility thinking unlike anything S&T has ever seen!
- This past year, the Missouri General Assembly approved Gov. Mike Parson’s proposal to provide matching funds for the Missouri Protoplex, which will be the anchor facility for our future Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Campus. A total of $46.25 million in state and federal funds has been approved to match $50 million from the Kummer Institute Foundation. Phase 1 of the Protoplex project is underway, with completion of the structure expected in fall 2025.
- Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the economic impact of our university comes in the form of successful placement of our graduates. For last May’s graduating class, the average reported starting salary was above $70,000, with M.S. and Ph.D. graduates above $84,000 and above $90,000, respectively.
Beyond the specific accomplishments listed above, here for your review, is the rest of the story of 2022 and a summary of key research accomplishments for the year.
So, at this “most wonderful time of the year,” I extend my warmest gratitude to all of our dedicated students, distinguished colleagues, committed alumni and dear friends. I appreciate all of you who reached out and connected with us, gave of yourself, and touched our lives here at S&T. Whether you were here long ago, are with us now, or are one of our soon-to-be Miners, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and an exciting new year filled with an abundance of health and happiness.
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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
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