Utah State University Science Dean Maura E. Hagan announces she is retiring from her post and from the university effective December 31, 2020. USU Executive Vice President and Provost Frank Galey announced Hagan’s decision publicly on Wednesday, June 24.
“We thank Dean Hagan for her outstanding service to the College of Science and the USU academic community across all of our campuses,” Galey says. “It is clear that the teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement by the college has made great gains under her leadership.”
“We are grateful to Dean Hagan for her leadership during her USU tenure,” says USU President Noelle Cockett. “We’ve benefited from her steady, forward-thinking guidance as an administrator, as well as her expertise as a world-renowned scientist.”
The New England native joined USU as dean in 2015, after serving as interim director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. She began her career at NCAR as a scientist in 1992, and was promoted to senior scientist, the NCAR equivalent of a full university professor appointment, in 2003.
During her tenure at Utah State, Hagan successfully oversaw fundraising and construction of the university’s $45 million, 103,000-square-foot Life Sciences Building, which opened in January 2019. The facility provides classroom, laboratory, research and collaborative space to students and faculty pursuing more than 30 majors throughout the university. In addition, Hagan is part of the USU team overseeing renovation of the more than 60-year-old S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Biology-Natural Resources Building, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2020.
Under Hagan’s leadership, the College of Science recently announced the establishment of its first endowed professorship, the R. Gaurth Hansen Professorship in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2019, Hagan is recognized for her groundbreaking contributions to atmospheric and space research, which focuses on downward penetration of space weather effects in the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the impact of meteorological weather on the near-Earth space environment. She is currently collaborating with fellow Physics professor Mike Taylor and colleagues at USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, on a NASA-funded project to study space weather from the International Space Station.
The first woman to matriculate through the scientist ranks at NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory, Hagan is a strong advocate for efforts to increase inclusion of underrepresented minorities in the scientific community. She currently serves on one of four USU Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Working Groups in support of President Noelle Cockett’s initiative to foster a diverse and inclusive university system.
During her USU tenure, Hagan served as a featured speaker at the American Physical Society’s 2019 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) at USU, one of 12 campuses in North America selected to host the gathering of undergraduates from schools throughout the American West.
A Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society, Hagan earned a doctorate in physics from Boston College in 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Emmanuel College in Boston in 1975.
Provost Galey announced the search for Hagan’s successor will begin immediately, with Joseph Ward, dean of USU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, serving as chair of the search committee and Vice Provost Paul Barr managing the search process.