A nationally recognized authority on cyber-security and head of Mississippi State’s computer science and engineering department is the university’s new associate vice president for research. Rayford “Ray” Vaughn’s role in the Office of Research and Economic Development will provide leadership in a variety of efforts related to research funding, and he also will coordinate initiatives and strategies to increase research efforts throughout the land-grant institution, the research vice president added.
Formal approval of Vaughn’s promotion is pending by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Vaughn, a Hattiesburg native who joined the MSU faculty in 1997, is among a select group of William L. Giles Distinguished Professors, the institution’s highest faculty rank. He has led in gaining international recognition for MSU as a center of excellence in both information assurance education and research.
Prior to joining the university, Vaughn completed a 26-year career in the U.S. Army, retiring as a colonel. During military service, he commanded the Army’s largest software development organization and helped create the agency that today centrally manages all Pentagon information technology support.
While on active duty, he also had a three-year assignment with the National Security Agency’s National Computer Security Center. At the super-secret NSA, he authored national-level computer security guidance, among other duties.
In addition to MSU teaching and research in the areas of software engineering and information security, he has directed the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering’s centers for Computer Security Research and Critical Infrastructure Protection.
Vaughn is a University of Southern Mississippi graduate who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Kansas State University.
His other honors include selections in 2004 as an MSU Eminent Scholar and, a year later, as winner of the Most Outstanding Academic Award of the National Colloquium on Information Systems Security Education.
In 2008, he was named MSU’s most outstanding faculty member by the State of Mississippi HEADWAE program.