President French announces new CAU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

10/07/2020

CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

After an extensive national search and the careful review of several outstanding candidates, the CAU Board of Trustees and I are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. G. Dale Wesson as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Wesson, who will begin his tenure October 1, comes to CAU with over 20 years of successful higher education experience, most recently at Virginia State University (VSU), where he served as the Vice President for Research & Economic Development and tenured full professor in the department of engineering and computer science.

At VSU, Dr. Wesson was the principal research officer of the University, reporting directly to the President. He advised the President on issues regarding the University's research enterprise and economic development of Virginia's "Gateway Region."

Before coming to VSU, Dr. Wesson served in a variety of C-Suite, academic administrative, and faculty positions at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, South Carolina State University, and Florida A&M University (FAMU). These positions include serving as vice president for research at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the Dr. Samuel P. Massie Chair of Excellence of Professor of Nuclear Engineering and vice president of Research, Economic Development, and Public Service at South Carolina State University.

Dr. Wesson has an impressive record of research portfolio management, economic and real estate development.

Under his leadership, research expenditures increased to over $25 million per year. During that time, the College of Education acquired and successfully managed a $4.1 million grant from the Wallace Foundation Education Grant to enhance administration training for area public school principals. Similarly, the College of Engineering and Technology acquired a $2.4 million grant from the United States Department of Education for graduate fellowships to enhance the Master of Science program in Mathematics and Computer Science.

These efforts increased VSU's economic impact in the city of Petersburg to over $30 million and exceeding $350 million for the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The VSU Research Foundation was refocused to accept and manage Federal contracts. In the area of real estate development, under Dr. Wesson's leadership, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Research Foundation built a $13.5 million Hawk Plaza 180-bed Graduate Housing Complex at UMES. At South Carolina State University (SCSU), Dr. Wesson invested an $800,000 HUD local real estate investment grant in the local community in Orangeburg, SC. He also finalized the design and completed the construction of Phase I of the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center at SCSU.

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While at FAMU, Dr. Wesson served as interim vice president for research, associate vice president for research, chairman of the Agricultural Engineering program, and assistant professor of chemical engineering. During his tenure, FAMU established a "Virtual Technology Transfer Office" through the development of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Wesson also takes pride in having served as the dissertation committee chair and graduated the first three Ph.Ds in chemical engineering from FAMU in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

A registered professional engineer, Dr. Wesson is the author of more than 50 combined journal publications and technical presentations. Before his academic career, Dr. Wesson gained a decade of industrial experience while working as a senior production supervisor at the Dow Chemical Company's Michigan Division plant in Midland, MI.

Dr. Wesson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University. Additionally, he has completed Executive Leadership Training through the Hampton University Leadership Institute Class of 2018 and the AASCU Millennium Leadership Class of 2018. He served on the board of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

I want to thank Dr. Dorcas D. Bowles, who came out of retirement and has served tirelessly as interim provost since January 2019. She brought a stable and historical voice and intuitive thinking to the position and has been a trusted advisor to me since my arrival in September 2019. Upon Dr. Wesson's arrival, Dr. Bowles will remain until October 30, 2020, to help with the transition.

I am also very grateful to the search committee, co-chaired by Dr. Jenny Jones, Dean, School of Social Work, and Dr. Silvanus Udoka, Dean, School of Business. This search moved swiftly and smoothly, thanks to their excellent and meticulous work in evaluating all the candidates for this position.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Wesson and his family to Clark Atlanta University.

Sincerely,     

         

George T. French, Jr., Ph.D. President