New roles announced for Richard Brow, Stephen Roberts

Posted by
On March 1, 2024

Richard Brow

Richard Brow, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of materials science and engineering at Missouri S&T, has been appointed executive director of operations for the Kummer Institute for Student Success, Research and Economic Development. Photo by Michael Pierce, Missouri S&T.

Dr. Richard K. Brow, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of materials science and engineering, has been appointed executive director of operations for the Kummer Institute for Student Success, Research and Economic Development, effective Friday, March 1. Brow succeeds Dr. Stephen Roberts as chief operating officer of the Kummer Institute. Roberts will remain in his role as chief strategy officer through the end of the academic year to lead new initiatives on behalf of the university.

Dr. Mo Dehghani, chancellor of Missouri S&T, says Brow’s tenure at the university and the recognition he’s earned from peers make him a natural choice for the role.

“On behalf of the entire S&T community, I thank Dr. Brow for his willingness to step into this critical role,” says Dehghani. “He is exactly the leader S&T needs to continue to create opportunities for students and faculty to excel, introduce young minds across Missouri to the amazing possibilities available to them in STEM fields, and help communities across the state and region thrive in an era that’s increasingly driven by technology.”

The Kummer Institute was established in October 2020 through a $300 million gift from the late Fred and June Kummer. Fred Kummer, a 1955 civil engineering graduate of Missouri S&T, was the founder of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., the world’s leading design-build firm for health care facilities. The gift also established the Kummer Institute Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation governed by a board of directors to support the Kummers’ mission.

“It’s both an honor and a privilege to continue the work started by Steve Roberts,” Brow says. “I look forward to collaborating with my talented and committed colleagues across S&T and with members of the Kummer Institute Foundation Board of Directors. Working together on behalf of our students, our local community and our region, I look forward to continuing to bring to life in new and innovative ways the vision that inspired Fred and June Kummer’s transformational generosity.”

Brow joined Missouri S&T in 1998 as professor of ceramic engineering and a senior investigator in the Materials Research Center. He was named chair of the ceramic engineering department in 2001. In 2004, he became chair of the then-new materials science and engineering department. He has served in other leadership positions, including interim vice provost and dean of the College of Engineering and Computing from 2016 to 2017, director of the Center for Biomedical Research from 2018 to 2021, and interim deputy provost for academic excellence from 2019 to 2022.  Prior to joining S&T, Brow was a member of the technical staff in the ceramic development division of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he developed glass compositions for electronic and optoelectronic applications. He and his students and colleagues have published more than 250 research papers and he holds 20 U.S. and international patents on glasses and related material. Brow was named Curators’ Distinguished Professor in 2004. He is a fellow and past-president of the American Ceramic Society and a fellow of the Society of Glass Technology, and was elected to the World Academy of Ceramics in 2021. Brow earned a Ph.D. in ceramic science from The Pennsylvania State University.

Stephen Roberts. Photo by Tom Wagner, Missouri S&T.

Roberts joined Missouri S&T in 2014 as founding dean of what is today the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education. In 2019, Roberts was appointed interim provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs, a role in which he was principal author of a $2.7 million grant to establish the Missouri S&T Child Development Center. In June 2021, he was appointed COO of the Kummer Institute. In this position, he focused on establishing all aspects of the Kummer Institute.

Going forward, Roberts will play an instrumental role in launching several new initiatives to advance S&T’s priority areas of biosystems science and engineering. These include new doctoral programs in biological sciences and bioengineering, a new B.S. in biomedical engineering, the creation of partnerships with medical schools for S&T’s undergraduates planning to become medical doctors, the creation of the Kummer Institute Center for Biological Innovation, the recruitment of a new Kummer Endowed Chair of Biological Sciences, the comprehensive renovation of Schrenk Hall East, and the university’s next major capital project, the S&T Bioplex, and new research programs at the intersection of biological sciences, medicine, engineering, and physical sciences.

“I want to thank Steve for his tremendous dedication to launching the Kummer Institute to carry out the vision of our generous donors, Fred and June Kummer,” Dehghani says. “His leadership of the institute, as well as his work as our vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, have helped position S&T well for the future. Today, the Kummer Institute is well established, and Steve will devote his attention to several emerging initiatives, providing key leadership and guidance as we move toward growing our bio-related programs and the development of our next major capital project, the S&T Bioplex.”

“It’s been a great honor to serve the Kummer Institute during its start as we developed and executed strategies for carrying out the vision of Fred and June Kummer,” Roberts says. “Their generosity has enabled S&T to launch several transformative initiatives, including new scholarships and programs for undergraduate students, new fellowships for doctoral students, new faculty in strategic growth areas, new research centers focused on addressing national needs, a new college focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, numerous capital projects to enhance the university and support regional economic development, and expanded outreach to pre-college students. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization, and especially to the Kummer Institute team members and board of directors for everything they’ve done to support S&T’s success through the Kummer Institute.”

Prior to joining S&T, Roberts was professor and chair of biology at Central Michigan University from 2009 to 2014. He previously served on the biological sciences faculty of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 1999 to 2009. An evolutionary biologist, he specializes in the study of insect physiology, and is the recipient of several research awards. He earned a Ph.D. in biology from Arizona State University.

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students located in Rolla, Missouri. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, Missouri S&T offers over 100 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top public universities for salary impact, according to the Wall Street Journal. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit

Share this page

Posted by

On March 1, 2024. Posted in Kummer Institute

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *