New dean at Voiland College of Engineering, Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Mary Rezac, the Tim Taylor Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Major Grant Initiatives within the College of Engineering at Kansas State University, has been selected dean of Washington State University’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

Rezac, who will join WSU on July 1, will succeed Interim Dean Don Bender, who assumed the position last August, following a decision by Professor Candis Claiborn’ to return to her faculty post at Voiland after a decade of service as dean of the college.

“It’s an absolute delight to welcome Mary to the Washington State leadership team,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz, who previously served as president of KSU. “She compiled a stellar record as a teacher, researcher, and administrator at Kansas State. Noel and I know from our shared time at KSU with Mary that her passion and vision will be hugely beneficial as we advance our Drive to 25 to become one of the nation’s top public research universities.”

WSU Provost Daniel Bernardo said, “Dr. Rezac has the perfect skill set to help us realize the full potential of the Voiland College,” said. “She has extensive academic and administrative experience at both an aspirational engineering program and a land-grant university.”

“I am excited to be joining the Washington State family, Rezac said of her selection. “WSU is an outstanding university that embodies innovation in undergraduate and graduate education as well as excellence in scholarship and entrepreneurship. I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to be the next VCEA dean, as the college moves into this next stage of its very bright future.”

Over her career, Rezac has developed a strong track record of partnering with industry to support research and education programs and expects to build WSU’s collaborations with companies across Washington state and beyond.

“The economy of Washington State is the envy of the world,” said Rezac. “The Voiland College is well positioned to support knowledge-based companies across the state from aerospace to power systems to information technology. I look forward to helping WSU continue to fuel the state’s economic engines by producing ready to work engineers and contributing to the innovations that will transform the way we live.”

Rezac obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Kansas State University in 1987 and worked for the Phillips Petroleum Company’s R&D division before returning to graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin, where she earned both her master’s and doctorate degree in chemical engineering.

In 1994, Rezac joined the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemical Engineering. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1998 and served in numerous administrative capacities for both the school and the college.

Rezac returned to Kansas State University in 2002 as an associate professor. She was promoted to Professor and department head in 2004 and served as the head of the chemical engineering department from 2004-2009. From 2007 to 2015, she served as the founding director of KSU’s Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE). From July 2015 to January 2017, Rezac served as KSU’s interim Associate Vice President for Research, supporting the research efforts of students, faculty, and staff from across the university.

News Media Contact:

Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-336-5963,