Hamilton named associate VP for research


John A. “Drew” Hamilton, Jr.

A scholar with extensive experience in cybersecurity and a two-decade career in the U.S. Army will fill a top research administration post for Mississippi State University.

After a national search, John A. “Drew” Hamilton, Jr. has been named associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering at the land-grant institution, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.

“We are very pleased that Dr. Hamilton will be joining us. He has a proven track record in research, teaching, external funding and working collaboratively,” said David Shaw, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development. “He shares our commitment to faculty, staff and students who are conducting fundamental to applied research that provides innovative solutions, creative works and new scholarship that address pressing local, state, regional, national and global needs.”

Currently, Hamilton is Alumni Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Auburn University and director of the Auburn Cyber Research Center.

“I have had two employers in my life: the U.S. Army and Auburn,” Hamilton said.

“But I could not pass up this opportunity to be a part of Mississippi State University. MSU’s resources, reputation and commitment to research are outstanding,” he said.

Hamilton also holds appointments in the Ginn College of Engineering’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the College of Business’ Department of Management at Auburn.

“I am a strong advocate of multidisciplinary research, and anticipate working closely with faculty across the MSU campus,” Hamilton said.

“For example, there have never been greater cyber research opportunities for arts and sciences faculty. Open source intelligence efforts are being funded by a number of federal agencies and are utilizing faculty from foreign language departments, as well as sociology and psychology,” he explained.

Over the past five years, Hamilton has served as principal investigator on 26 research grants. He has secured more than $7.8 million in external funding during his time at Auburn, and has led several classified funded research projects.

Hamilton said expanding funding opportunities for Mississippi State faculty will be a priority for him.

“I have strong research relationships with colleagues at the National Science Foundation, NSA, the Missile Defense Agency, Army Research Lab and elsewhere, and will work to connect interested faculty at MSU with these agencies,” he said.

Hamilton said diversity, outreach and integrity are also priorities.

“Diversity is a critical consideration in research simply because the country is facing a critical shortage of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, and no one group can afford to be underserved,” he said.

At Auburn, Hamilton has worked with faculty and taught at neighboring historically black colleges and universities.

“I believe there is no better way to prepare and recruit minority students than by working with them during their undergraduate studies,” he explained.

Information assurance, computer security, simulation of computer networks, system design to prevent denial of service attacks, command and control interoperability, command and control architecture, software architectures and information assurance architectures are among his research interests.

Hamilton holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Texas Tech University, a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in computer science from Vanderbilt University. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M University.

Ray Vaughn, who served previously as associate vice president for research at MSU, was named vice president for research at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in March.

Among the nation’s leading major research universities, Mississippi State has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as “a very high research activity university,” which represents the highest level of research activity for doctorate-granting universities in the U.S. Mississippi State is the only school in the state with the distinction, and one of only 108 nationwide.

MSU's research expenditures totaled $233 million in 2012.

Jim Laird | University Relations

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