Kenith Meissner is new Dean of Engineering


Joel Molina

: New dean of the College of Engineering, Kenith Meissner, shakes the hand of an attendee at the Meet the Dean” ice cream social from 4:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 28 in the Geology Reading Room.

Alyson Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

UTEP names Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., the new Dean of the College of Engineering and he began his role Aug. 3. The new dean has many dreams and plans for the engineering program in his new role.

“As UTEP has grown from a regional university to a national university over the last 20 years or so, I really see UTEP Engineering continue to grow in regional, national and global reputation and really impact as well,” Meissner said. “I see us building on our excellent foundation in engineering education and the ability to produce graduates who are ready for the global economy. I really want to build on our impactful research that will have a global impact and solve global problems.”

Meissner graduated from Lehigh University in 1987 with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and he earned his doctoral degree in optical sciences from the University of Arizona in 1994.

Meissner was a postdoctoral appointee in the Surface Physics Group at Sandia National Laboratories after graduating with his doctoral degree. After holding positions at Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, Meissner joined Swansea University’s School of Engineering in 2014 as professor and chair, and from 2016 to 2020, he was head of physics.

After, Meissner served as pro-vice chancellor/executive dean and as professor of science and engineering for Swansea University in Wales.

With his guidance, the science and engineering program achieved an increase in student satisfaction based on a national survey and placed 10 programs in their respective national top 10 rankings.

“Before this position I had never been to El Paso and I didn’t know that much about the university, but then I learned that it is America’s leading Hispanic-serving research university and a R1 research school,” Meissner said. “During my interview, I met some of the students here and I was just inspired by them. I had never met students with such a purpose, commitment, and passion to their education, but also a commitment to their families and community. I’ve never experienced a university that had such a clear focus on social mobility. These factors are what drew me into El Paso.”

The Department of Engineering held a “Meet the Dean” event Aug. 18 in order to introduce the new dean to students, faculty, and staff. It was held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Geology Reading Room located in room 310 in the Geological Sciences building. Ice cream and refreshments were provided to guests in attendance.

Mariana Sigala, a UTEP engineering student, attended the ice cream social in order to network with the new dean.

“I came to the Meet the Dean event because I wanted to net-work with the staff and faculty in attendance and more importantly meet the new dean and see what he is bringing into the College of Engineering,” Sigala said. “I was very excited to meet him and to learn about his worldwide experience. He seemed very excited and looking forward to working with us students.”

Meissner said he has been having a wonderful time in El Paso so far and he has been enjoying the Mexican food. One of the projects that he is most looking forward to is the groundbreaking of the new aerospace building at the end of this month.

Alyson Rodriguez is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.