Montana State University

MSU vice president accepts position at the University of North Texas

May 20, 2013 -- MSU News Service

Thomas McCoy, Montana State University's vice president for research, creativity and technology transfer, has been named the vice president for research and economic development at the University of North Texas in Denton. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.   High-Res Available

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Thomas McCoy, Montana State University's vice president for research, creativity and technology transfer, has been named the vice president for research and economic development at the University of North Texas. His last day at MSU will be July 5.

“Dr. McCoy has served Montana State University for nearly 25 years, and he leaves a significant legacy,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “In particular, as vice president for research, creativity and technology transfer, Dr. McCoy ushered in an era of unprecedented research growth at MSU, and our university’s research enterprise is now nationally and internationally known. We will greatly miss Dr. McCoy and wish him the very best in his new position.”

McCoy began his career at MSU in 1989 as head of what was then known as the Department of Plant and Soil Science. He later became dean of MSU’s College of Agriculture before being appointed to the vice presidency in 1998. McCoy has worked with four MSU presidents: President Bill Tietz, President Michael Malone, President Geoff Gamble, and President Waded Cruzado.

“I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished over the years in our research, creativity and technology transfer enterprise at Montana State University,” McCoy said. “Our faculty, staff and students have worked very hard to raise MSU to a level of national and international prominence, and it’s been my pleasure to be involved in this undertaking. I will certainly miss all of my colleagues here.”

McCoy oversaw significant accomplishments in the university’s research enterprise during his career. Among them:

  • Annual research expenditures rose from $52 million in 1998, when McCoy became vice president, to a record $112.3 million in 2012.
  • In 2010, the National Institutes of Health awarded MSU a $15 million grant to renovate the 53-year-old Cooley Laboratory into a state-of-the-art facility for students and faculty conducting biomedical research. The researchers who use Cooley Lab are already studying everything from influenza to heart disease to the creation of new drugs.
  • In 2007, the university opened the new Chemistry/Biochemistry Building. The $23 million structure was financed with university-issued bonds that are being repaid from grants won by programs housed in the building. The new space helped launch the Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry. In 2006, the year before it moved into the building, that department earned $4.5 million in research. In 2012, it was the top-grant earning department in the university at $10.6 million.
  • McCoy also oversaw the transition of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases - formerly the Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology – from a series of trailers at Marsh Lab to a modern building on the MSU Innovation Campus in 2003. The transition to quality research space helped the department go from earning $2 million to $3 million annually in research grants to becoming the university’s second largest grant earner, last year bringing in $8.6 million.
  • In 2006, MSU earned a spot among the most prestigious research universities in the nation when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized it as having “very high research activity.”  Today, MSU is one of only 108 universities out of more than 4,000 with such a designation.
  • Also in 2011, MSU finalized the largest research grant in the state’s history -- $67 million over eight years administered under the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership at MSU. The partnership is researching the viability of storing large amounts of carbon dioxide in deep geological formations as a possible strategy to help stabilize global CO2 emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change.
  • The Office of Technology Transfer, also under McCoy, has seen growth in the number of MSU technologies licensed to private companies every year since 2002.
  • In 1999, MSU created the Thermal Biology Institute to focus on the unique microbial life found in the geothermal features of Yellowstone National Park. TBI has developed an international reputation for moving new science from discovery to application in the areas of bioremediation, alternative energy and medicine, among other industries. 

McCoy will assume his new position at the University of North Texas on July 8. Located in Denton, the University of North Texas offers 97 bachelor’s degrees, 81 master’s degrees and 35 doctoral degrees. It has an enrollment of approximately 36,000 students.

Contact: Tracy Ellig, University Communications, (406) 994-5607 or tellig@montana.edu