School of Engineering Welcomes New Dean David A. Puleo

Former Kentucky associate dean brings years of leadership experience, vision to position

David Puleo

OXFORD, Miss. – David A. Puleo, an administrator nationally respected for his activities in both academics and research, has been named the new dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

“Thanks to its leaders over the past 120 years, the (UM) school has a strong foundation, educating generations of engineers, computer scientists and geologists,” said Puleo, who assumes his duties at UM on Aug. 27. “The School of Engineering will play a key role in the university’s inspiring Flagship Forward strategic plan, and I believe my experiences at a large, public flagship university in the Southeast enable me to lead the school forward to ‘ever-increasing excellence.’”

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, he was the associate dean for research and graduate studies at the University of Kentucky. Puleo, who was a professor in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D., Department of Biomedical Engineering at UK, also founded Regenera Materials LLC, in Lexington, Kentucky.

As graduate studies director, Puleo supervised academic policy development and implementation, new course and program development, graduate student recruitment in partnership with UK’s Graduate Studies Team, selection and awarding of College of Engineering graduate student fellowships, and graduate program assessment.

“Our School of Engineering remains an integral component of academic excellence and scholarship at the University of Mississippi,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “David Puleo’s direction will enhance our already strong and competitive position among institutions of higher learning around the country and beyond its borders.”

Puleo said he plans to immerse himself in the culture of Ole Miss and the engineering school, which will set the stage for drafting a strategic plan for the school using a “collaborative visioning” approach that involves stakeholders from all constituencies.

“We will create a roadmap, with objectives, strategies and metrics for maintaining and growing strong, hands-on undergraduate programs with high-impact components; growing and selectively adding graduate programs; expanding our research portfolio, addressing 21st-century challenges best served by interdisciplinary, team-based approaches; ensuring a diverse and inclusive environment; and acquiring resources needed to achieve these objectives,” he said.

This roadmap should lead to the longer-term goal of the UM School of Engineering being recognized regionally, and then nationally, for exceptional education, cutting-edge research and outstanding service to the state and the engineering profession.

“A key strength of the school is the broad-based and ‘high touch’ approach to undergraduate education,” Puleo said. “We must maintain that quality of educating the next generations of engineers, computer scientists and geologists while also expanding our graduate programs and the highly related research enterprise. The close proximity of multiple other schools, as well as the not-too-distant UM Medical Center, provide outstanding transdisciplinary educational and research opportunities.”

The new dean’s track record includes being a fellow in the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. A member of the advisory board for Viking Scientific Inc. and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, Puleo received UK’s Excellence in Teaching in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2013.

Yet these and other awards pale is comparison to the fulfillment Puleo said he derives from seeing others who worked with him become successful.

“This is the satisfaction of seeing ‘my’ students and faculty succeed,” he said. “Being able to facilitate these types of success led me to continue down an administrative path in my career.”

Previous positions Puleo held during his 27-year employment at the University of Kentucky include assistant professor of biomedical engineering, associate professor of biomedical engineering, adjunct associate professor in the College of Dentistry and professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, both in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He also served as director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering before becoming chair after conversion to a department.

A prolific author, Puleo has written numerous refereed journal articles, papers and been published in several other publications. He has also been an invited presenter at numerous webinars, conference workshops and annual meetings.

As a researcher, the new dean has served as principal investigator and investigator of both internally and externally funded grants totaling millions. Heavily involved in service at all levels, he has chaired or served on national and state organizations and University of Kentucky committees.

Puleo and his wife, Sue, have two adult children, Nick and Angie.

While confident in his ability to continue building upon the UM engineering school’s legacy, he said he is still humbled by the challenge.

“The previous heads of the School of Engineering set a high standard and accomplished great things,” he said. “The call is also quite exciting, causing me to ponder the great opportunities to work with the students, staff, faculty and administrators to elevate the School of Engineering.”

For more information about the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi, visit