Dr. Matthew J. O’Keefe, professor of metallurgical engineering in the materials science and engineering department at the University of Missouri-Rolla, has been named director of the UMR Graduate Center for Materials Research. His appointment takes effect Sept. 1.
O’Keefe takes over for Dr. James Drewniak, Curators’ Professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMR, who will remain on the UMR faculty, continuing in the field of electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic materials.
“Dr. Matt O’Keefe is a highly accomplished faculty member with an impressive record in materials research,” says Dr. K. Krishnamurthy, vice provost for research at UMR. “We are extremely fortunate to have him as the new director of the Materials Research Center as we move forward to meet the university’s strategic goals in research.”
O’Keefe’s recent research projects include collaborations with other UMR faculty, the Air Force and Boeing to develop a chromate-free coating system to protect military equipment, especially aircraft, from corrosion and to investigate the use of lead-free solders to assemble aerospace electronic systems; and a project using multi-energy processing to deposit thin films and coatings.
In his new role as MRC director, O’Keefe plans to “continue MRC’s outstanding tradition in graduate education and research that has resulted in nine of the current senior investigators from four different academic departments being named Curators’ Professors.” He also plans to increase awards and fellowships and improve upon the state-of-the-art equipment that supports the interdisciplinary nature of materials science and engineering across campus.
O’Keefe joined the UMR faculty in 1999 as an associate professor of metallurgical engineering. He was named professor in 2006. Prior to UMR, he served as adjunct professor of graduate materials at the University of Dayton from 1993-1999. From 1990-1999, he served as a materials research engineer for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Prior to that he was a member of the technical staff of AT&T Bell Laboratories and planning engineer for AT&T Microelectronics.
While at UMR, O’Keefe has been the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award, the Faculty Excellence Award, the University of Missouri Faculty Performance Shares Award and the School of Mines and Metallurgy Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2003 and 2004, O’Keefe was named metallurgical engineering professor of the year.
O’Keefe earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1993 and a bachelor of science degree from UMR in 1985, both in metallurgical engineering. He is the author or co-author of numerous research publications. He holds two patents and has applied for an additional patent.