HATTIESBURG — University of Southern Mississippi president Martha Saunders announced that Dr. Cecil Burge is retiring as vice president for research and economic development after leading the university’s research enterprise for the past five-and-a-half years.
His resignation is effective Dec. 31. A national search for a successor will begin later this fall.
“Under his leadership, the university’s external research funding increased dramatically,” Saunders said. “His ability to identify fund sources and to mentor faculty throughout the grant process are invaluable assets that will be truly missed.”
A Southern Miss computer science professor since 1970, Burge has had experience in virtually every position and role associated with the research enterprise. This includes serving in various administrative positions such as technology transfer officer, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and as associate vice president for research.
The university reached the century mark in external funding for the first time with a high of $102 million in 2006, up from just $40 million in 2000. At any given time, Southern Miss has as many as 1,000 or more active grant projects.
During his time at Southern Miss, Burge has conducted numerous externally sponsored projects in the areas of rural healthcare delivery, applications of mobile communications technology, software engineering and technology-based economic development. Projects in his portfolio have included organizationally challenging efforts crossing multiple agencies, states, disciplines and universities. Many of these projects have involved university consortia and academic-industrial-government partnerships.
Burge also led the effort to obtain Southern Miss’ first accreditation in computer science and later served on the national accrediting agency, the Computer Sciences Accreditation Board. In this capacity, he also served as director of the Software Engineering Laboratory, a technology transfer and product development group.
A native of Pearl River County, Burge is a registered professional engineer with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University.