Innovate Mississippi has inducted former University of Southern Mississippi president Dr. Shelby Thames into its Innovators Hall of Fame. Thames, a distinguished university research professor in the university’s School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, led his alma mater as its executive officer from 2002-2007.
In addition to the Hall of Fame induction, Thames received an Award of Excellence from the alliance.
Thames, a member of the Southern Miss Alumni Hall of Fame, holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Southern Miss and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Tennessee. He founded the Southern Miss Department of Polymer Science in 1970, which led to the founding of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. His previous administrative positions at Southern Miss were chair of the Department of Polymer Science, dean of the College of Science and Technology, vice president for administration and regional campuses and executive vice president. In 1998, the university’s $29-million Polymer Science Research Center was renamed in his honor as the Shelby Freland Thames Polymer Science Research Center. In 1973, he co-founded of the Waterborne and High-Solids Coatings Symposium, an event that has expanded to the annual International Waterborne, High-Solids, and Powder Coatings Symposium. Thames has also been instrumental in key economic development initiatives, including the establishment of the Mississippi Polymer Institute; International Coatings and Formulations Institute; Southern Diversified Products, LLC (a Mississippi University Research Authority company) and the 521-acre Innovation and Commercialization Research Park in Hattiesburg known as “The Garden.”
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