Matthew J. O’Keefe | Dean and Professor

Matt O'Keefe

LeRoy C. and Aileen H. Paslay Chair in Engineering

Ph.D. - 1993, University of Illinois
Metallurgical Engineering
B.S. – 1985, Missouri S&T
Metallurgical Engineering

Contact information

1046 Rathbone Hall

Professional experience

In June of 2020 Matt O’Keefe assumed new duties as the dean of the Kansas State University Carl R. Ice College of Engineering. He holds the LeRoy C. and Aileen H. Paslay Chair in Engineering as well as the position of tenured professor in the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering.

O'Keefe previously held the position of executive director of the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Mississippi. The CME program serves more than 200 undergraduate students in accounting, business and engineering who are pursuing a minor in manufacturing in order to develop into leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs of modern manufacturing.

Before joining the University of Mississippi, O'Keefe had been at Missouri S&T as a professor of metallurgical engineering and had also served as chair of the department of material science and engineering. In addition he was director and senior investigator for Missouri S&T's Graduate Center for Materials Research, as well as the interim assistant vice chancellor of global learning for one year.

O'Keefe began his career as a planning engineer with AT&T Microelectronics and then transferred to AT&T Bell Laboratories to pursue electronic component manufacturing. He had worked as a materials research engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base after obtaining his doctorate degree.

His educational background includes a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla — now Missouri S&T — and a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from the University of Illinois.


As a researcher, O'Keefe focuses on thin films, coatings, environmentally friendly processing and characterization of materials. He has been principal investigator on more than $10 million of funded research and another $24 million as a co-principal investigator. A fellow of ASM International, he is co-inventor on six issued patents, three of which are licensed.

Academic highlights

O’Keefe has co-authored more than 140 peer-reviewed articles and conference proceedings, three book chapters with colleagues and students, and has served as a peer reviewer for 20 journals. His work has earned eight faculty excellence awards, three outstanding teaching awards and three best paper awards.