MSU's Science and Technology Research Center Director Retires

Geosystems Research Institute
July 1, 2004

Story Photo
Roy and Daughter Laura
On Wednesday, 30 June 2004, MSU administration along with past and present work associates, family and friends joined to celebrate the retirement of longtime researcher and scientist Dr. Roy A. Crochet. Dr. Crochet is retiring from his position as the director of the MSU Science and Technology Research Center (STRC) located at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi. Dr. Crochet was honored with a reception and dinner at the Diamondhead Country Club on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with speakers representing the STRC, the GeoResources Institute, and the MSU Office of Research.

Prior to his tenure at MSU, Dr. Crochet was with the Computer Science Corporation (CSC) working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). While working with NASA, he took note of the fact that it took as long as 14 months just to put a contract in place with a university or laboratory. As a result, funding available to the state's universities was extremely difficult to acquire and not aggressively pursued. Dr. Crochet was motivated to find ways to facilitate this process.

Dr. Crochet joined MSU in 1985, as the director of the MSU Research Center/Stennis Space Center (later named the Science and Technology Research Center) in South Mississippi. Dr. Crochet started to recognize the opportunity to not only advance the University's research program, but to address the funding problems he took note of while working with NASA. In 1986, Dr. Crochet started the Mississippi Research Consortium (MRC) which created a funding mechanism to obtain federal dollars to support research, teaching, and service programs at the Stennis Space Center. With the MRC, Dr. Crochet made an astounding accomplishment in that the MRC was not just a mechanism for MSU, but for the state's four largest universities. The MRC brought Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Jackson State University to work together within their research programs. Since then, the MRC has brought in over $50 Million to the state's universities with about 40% of the funding going to MSU. Although Dr. Crochet established the MRC and acted as the director of the Consortium, today each Vice President for Research for the four universities act as co-directors with Dr. Crochet acting as the coordinator for the Consortium.

As director of the STRC, Dr. Crochet has brought in a wide range of expertise to the group. In-house research personnel has included expertise in statistics, forestry, electrical engineering, computer engineering, propulsion engineering, software development, oceanography, marine chemistry, and propellant chemistry. Dr. Crochet also involved many MSU faculty in the research programs.

Dr. Crochet says that "the in house level of expertise seems to have gone full circle". When he started out in 1985, he started "with only two research biologist and after 18+ years of operation, ending with two wildlife ecologists".

In 2002, Dr. Crochet moved his research organization within Stennis and is now located with the GeoResources Institute. Dr. Crochet stated that this move was a significant event as it brought together and synergized the research efforts being put forth by MSU in South Mississippi.

As fellow GRI scientist, Jim Corbin stated, "Roy is not ending his career, he's changing the direction his career is moving; from research to application. Application towards the rest of his family, friends and neighbors." Dr. Crochet will be greatly missed and GRI wishes him well in his retirement.

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