Mississippi Power Endows MSU Engineering Professorship

Stan Grzybowski

During Thursday [Sept. 27] ceremonies at Mississippi State, leaders of Mississippi Power nnounced a $500,000 commitment by the Gulfport-based energy provider to the university's Bagley College of Engineering.

ade through the company's Education Foundation, the gift will be used to endow the Mississippi Power Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Anthony Topazi, Mississippi Power's chief executive officer and president, said, "It is important to our company and the future of our industry that we promote and support the best minds in our academia and research to ensure a viable future generation of engineers to lead the energy industry."

"We as a company value and appreciate the strength of the power systems programs offered by Mississippi State," Topazi added. "It is the level of excellence demonstrated by these endowed professors who will produce our industry leaders of tomorrow."

Also at the morning ceremony, college leaders announced that veteran professor Stanislaw "Stan" Grzybowski will be the inaugural holder of the professorship.

A native of Poland, Grzybowski is both a member of the department's teaching and research faculty and director of its High-Voltage Laboratory, considered one of the largest academic electrical research facilities of its kind in the nation.

"The college is very appreciative of Mississippi Power's support of our faculty in the electrical and computer engineering department," said Glenn Steele, interim college dean. "The outstanding individual holding this professorship will pursue research and outreach projects that will attract both students and other researchers into the power area."

A member of the MSU faculty since 1987, Grzybowski's areas of expertise include lightning protection of electrical power systems, warships, aircraft, and other objects. A Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, he also is recognized for his work in the electrical degradation of high-voltage insulation and aging mechanisms in polymer high-voltage cable and insulators.

Sarah A. Rajala, electrical and computer engineering department head, said the endowed professorship will help the department retain faculty members such as Grzybowski, as well as recruit top scholars in the future.

Endowed professorships are among the most significant awards given to tenured faculty members. The invested funds provide salary, benefits and research support, along with a long-term commitment that enables cutting-edge educational development and research projects.

"Through this significant investment in Mississippi State University, Mississippi Power is investing in one of the university's most important resources, its people," said university President Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong. "This partnership between Mississippi Power and MSU will benefit countless students in the Bagley College of Engineering by providing the opportunity for them to learn and work with nationally-recognized faculty."

Mississippi Power Education Foundation was established in 1984. Over the years, the company has supported excellence in education throughout its service area by awarding more than $3 million in grants and awards to teachers, schools, school systems, and educational projects.

Misissippi State's engineering program was established in 1902. Currently, more than 20 members of the Bagley College's faculty hold endowed chairs or professorships. Additionally, 22 have been recognized with the honor rank of fellow in their engineering societies.