More than 14 months after then-Dean of Engineering Christopher Roberts was named President of Auburn University, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering finally has its new leader.
On Friday, Mario Eden, the Joe T. and Billie Carole McMillan Professor and chair of Auburn University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, was named the college’s 14th dean.
“Serving Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering has been one of the greatest blessings of my life,” Eden said. “I am so thankful for the chemical engineering department faculty, staff, students and alumni for the past decade, and I am humbled at this opportunity to take Auburn Engineering to the next level. This is truly a group effort, and together we can achieve even greater things because we believe in Auburn and love it.”
Following a lengthy search that saw nearly 60 applicants from around the country vie for the position, it turns out the university needed to look no further than its own ranks.
“The quality of applicants and applications we received from across the country is a testimony to the stature of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering,” Interim Provost Vini Nathan said. “After carefully reviewing feedback from the search committee, faculty, staff, students, alumni and Auburn leadership, it was apparent that Dr. Eden is the person we need leading the College of Engineering forward. I am confident that, through his leadership, he will help elevate the college to become one of the preeminent engineering institutions in the country.”
Eden will assume the leadership role from Steve Taylor, who was named interim dean in April of last year. According to a press release from the University, Taylor will now return to his previous role as the college’s associate dean for research.
“Dr. Taylor is a consummate professional, and Auburn is indebted to him for his thoughtful leadership, dedication and commitment during this interim period,” Nathan said.
A longtime Auburn faculty member, Eden served as an assistant professor from 2004 to 2008, associate professor from 2008 to 2012 and as chair and professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 2012 until Friday. He also served a term as acting director of the Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering from 2014 to 2016.
However, it was his time as chemical engineering department chair that ultimately set him apart.
Eden led the department to its highest-ever U.S. News & World Report Graduate Program ranking, successfully added 17 tenure-track faculty members and two full-time lecturers during the past 10 years, helped raise millions of dollars via philanthropy for the college and successfully led the department through the national accreditation process in 2016 and 2022 among other achievements.
Before arriving at Auburn, Eden earned master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark in 1999 and 2003, respectively. Before becoming a professor, Eden served as a research assistant at his alma mater and as a visiting lecturer at Auburn during the 2002-2003 academic year.
As a professor, his expertise and research interests included process systems engineering and computer-aided process engineering, process simulation, design, integration and optimization along with product and molecular synthesis and design.
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Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman.