Dr. Darren Dawson gets unanimous support from UA System Board as UAH president

Dr. Darren Dawson

Dr. Darren Dawson, the Dean of Engineering at Kansas State University, was given a unanimous vote by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees to become the next president of The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The national search for UAH’s ninth president was launched in October after President Robert Altenkirch announced his retirement plans. Chaired by Board President Pro Tempore Ron Gray, the 21-member Search Advisory Committee had representatives of the UAH faculty, staff, students, the Huntsville community and Trustees.

University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John recommended Dr. Dawson to the Board of Trustees at its meeting in Huntsville on Friday.

"He seems like a perfect fit for UAH," St. John said. "His background and training is consistent with the strengths here. He is extremely excited about the prospects for this university. I think it is on a platform with unlimited potential and he does, too. We’ve had great progress under Dr. Altenkirch. He’s got it in a position to be a different place than it has ever been before. This is the campus that will be the next big story in our system."

"During the course of the committee’s review and throughout the interviews, Dr. Dawson was clearly the leading candidate," said Trustee Gray. Dr. Dawson has overseen record enrollment and fundraising growth at Kansas State, he added.

I'm gratified with the confidence demonstrated by Chancellor Finis St. John and the board of trustees in being selected as the next president of The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

UAH is a well-respected, nationally recognized institution of higher learning.The campus is enjoying momentum under Bob Altenkirch's leadership and I look forward to to continuing the legacy of excellence and growth for the university.

Kim and I are looking forward to our move to Huntsville.

Dr. Darren Dawson

Known for building partnerships with public- and private-sector entities, Dr. Dawson earned degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech. His extensive research background includes emphasis on controls and robotics with more than $20 million in grant and contract awards. He has industry experience with Westinghouse at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.

Prior to his successful five-year tenure at K-State, Dr. Dawson served at Clemson University for 24 years in positions of ascending responsibility: Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor, and Graduate Coordinator. During his time as Department Chair, research expenditures and Ph.D. enrollment more than doubled and undergraduate enrollment increased by 160 percent.

Dr. Dawson’s academic awards include the NCR Undergraduate Teaching Award (1992), the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (1994), the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award (1994), the Georgia Institute of Technology Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni Award (1995), the Centennial Professorship (2000), the Murray Stokely Award for Excellence in Teaching Award (2003) and the COES Collaborative Research Award (2007).

Dr. Darren Dawson and his wife Kim are the parents of daughter Jacklyn, a junior at Kansas State, and son David, a high school freshman.

Per Board bylaws, the Chancellor is responsible for recommending the appointment of campus presidents to the Board of Trustees.


Ray Garner


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