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Wilkerson to lead MSU institute

Wayne Wilkerson, an associate professor of landscape architecture at Mississippi State University, is the new director of a research institute focusing on economic and environmental issues affecting water resources. Wilkerson will lead the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute.

Appointment of the MSU alumnus is pending approval of the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning,

Wilkerson, who received MSU bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1975 and 1978, respectively, joined the landscape architecture department in 1999. He currently coordinates the department’s research and graduate programs.

He taught previously at Louisiana State University, from which he completed a second master’s in 1988. He is a registered landscape architect and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and International Association of Landscape Ecologists.

Wilkerson’s current research focuses on producing computer models that enable the development industry to design and build more resilient and sustainable communities. His work is supported through a grant from the Northern Gulf Institute, an MSU-led research consortium.

He is also a member of the steering committee for the MSU Healthy Watersheds, Healthy Oceans, Healthy Ecosystems working group comprised of more than 30 faculty and staff from 10 departments across campus.

At MWRRI, Wilkerson succeeds George Hopper, dean of the College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. Last July, Hopper assumed additional responsibilities as interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and interim director of the Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station.

Wilkerson has been very active in water-related research throughout his career. He has worked closely with professionals within and outside the university in collaborative research and outreach efforts.

He also has been involved in several multi-disciplinary projects sponsored through the Geosystems Research Institute at MSU focusing on issues impacting the natural and economic resources of Mississippi watersheds. Among them have been the development and copyrighting of a spatial-decision support system to help public agencies assess the hydrologic impacts of large industrial developments.

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