RICHLAND, Wash. — H. Keith Moo-Young has been named the new chancellor of Washington State University Tri-Cities, effective June 1.
Moo-Young has served as dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles, since 2006.
“Keith Moo-Young has an entrepreneurial spirit that complements the vision for WSU Tri-Cities. He will use a creative approach to grow the campus,” said Elson S. Floyd, president of Washington State University. “He has experience building community and business partnerships — which are vital to WSU Tri-Cities — and he expressed a vision for the campus that will strengthen its role within WSU and in the state’s economy.”
Moo-Young was one of three candidates invited to WSU Tri-Cities to meet with members of the campus community and the community at large. He will receive an annual salary of $300,000.
“Keith is a great fit for the campus and community,” said interim chancellor James R. Pratt. “He is a creative and productive leader who will bring considerable skill to the leadership of the campus.”
Engineering balanced with art
The 17-member search committee was co-chaired by Mike Kluse, director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and chair of the WSU Tri-Cities Advisory Council, and Danny Talbot, clinical associate professor of educational leadership in the College of Education program at WSU Tri-Cities.
“The committee valued Dr. Moo-Young’s experience working with PNNL and his excitement and vision for strengthening the partnership between WSU, PNNL and the many other industry partners in the Tri-Cities, the state and beyond,” Kluse said.
Moo-Young earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Morgan State University in Maryland, his master’s and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, an executive master’s in technology management from the University of Pennsylvania and completed Harvard University’s management development program.
He started his career as an assistant professor of civil engineering at Morgan State, then moved to Pennsylvania where he joined Lehigh University in 1996 and, in 2004, moved to Villanova University where he had a multi-faceted role as professor of environmental engineering, director of an interdisciplinary doctoral program and associate dean of research and graduate studies.
Moo-Young is a licensed professional engineer with an active research agenda focusing on solid and hazardous waste management and how water transports contaminants through soil. Furthermore, he has more than 200 refereed papers and invited talks, and he is the co-inventor of one patent. Moo-Young currently serves as the chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Engineering Committee.
As a result of his research and public policy work, Moo-Young was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and American Academy of Environmental Engineers. His resume lists more than $44 million of funded research projects.
Talbot said the search committee noted Moo-Young’s exceptional work as a scholar in STEM-related fields, as well as his considerable experience in administration, community involvement and fund raising.
“His demonstrated abilities and interests in making higher education a reality for all students are qualities that match extremely well with the needs of WSU Tri-Cities and the Tri-Cities community,” Talbot said.
Moo-Young’s career commitment to STEM education includes outreach to inner-city high schools to encourage student participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. His involvement includes serving on the boards of Great Minds in STEM and the Hispanic Engineering National Award Achievement Corp.
His technical focus is complemented by a strong affinity for the arts.
“We need to create a culture of creativity and leverage the humanities and the arts,” Moo-Young said. “The arts community should be part of the intellectual hub for the campus. A campus with strong arts, social sciences, humanities and general education programs tends to have a greater impact on the community, and STEM students become better thinkers and more creative when they take liberal arts classes.”
Opportunities for innovation, family
“I want to really listen very carefully to what people are thinking, not only about WSU Tri-Cities but in the community, and really try to work as a team-builder and a quasi-community organizer who can rally us around a common vision — not just for the institution, but for the region,” Moo-Young said. “The campus has an opportunity to build a strong community-based approach to higher education, with a link from K-12 to community college to four-year university to the Ph.D. level.
“At the core of my skill sets is the aspect of innovation, and taking things from the conceptual phase and the idea phase all the way to implementation and rollout — full-cycle development of products and ideas within the university and in the corporate arena,” Moo-Young said. “This hopefully will play well as we build what I truly believe will be a signature standout regional university with a research focus.”
The son of Jamaican immigrants, Moo-Young grew up in Washington, D.C. He found the Tri-Cities — a metropolitan area including Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland with a combined population of about 260,000 — to be especially inviting for his young family.
“I thought the community was very warm and friendly,” he said. “We feel it’s a great place to raise our kids, and that was a big factor in our decision.”
Moo-Young, 43, will be moving to the Tri-Cities with his wife, Monika Moo-Young, who owns a consulting business, and their three children: sons ages 11 and 9, and a 22-month-old daughter.
R. William Funk & Associates assisted in the nationwide search. Information regarding the search is available at www.tricity.wsu.edu/search
About WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Tri-Cities is located along the scenic Columbia River in Richland, Wash. Established in 1989 as one of three urban campuses within Washington State University’s statewide system. WSU Tri-Cities expanded in 2007 to a full four-year undergraduate campus offering 18 bachelor’s, 10 master’s, and six doctoral degree programs. WSU Tri-Cities values quality, innovation, experiential learning, community collaborations, and a campus rich in diversity. Learn more at www.tricity.wsu.edu