Inaugural SEC Symposium to Take Place in February in Atlanta

11/15/2012 01:48 PM

BATON ROUGE –The inaugural SEC Symposium, titled “Impact of the Southeast in the World’s Renewable Energy Future,” is scheduled to take place Feb. 10-12, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Raymond L. Orbach, former U.S. Undersecretary for Science, will give the plenary address at the event.

The SEC Symposium addresses a significant scholarly issue across the range of disciplines represented by the Southeastern Conference’s 14 member universities. This event showcases their academic excellence and underscores their educational and economic contributions to the vitality of the region, nation and world.

This year’s event, hosted by the University of Georgia and in conjunction with SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference, will feature a wide variety of presentations from faculty representing each of the 14 SEC member institutions, an SEC university showcase, poster exhibitions and a reception with the SEC presidents, chancellors and provosts.

Three LSU faculty members, Dorin Boldor, associate professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering; David Dismukes, associate director and professor, Center for Energy Studies; and Jerry Spivey, professor, Chemical Engineering, will present during the conference. LSU College of Engineering’s Kelly Rusch served on the SEC Symposium advisory board.

“The SEC Symposium provides us an outstanding opportunity to highlight the great accomplishments of the faculty and academic initiatives of our 14 member institutions,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. “We are honored to have someone as well respected and highly accomplished as Dr. Orbach deliver our plenary address. He will set the tone for this inaugural event for which we are very excited.”

Orbach was the first person to hold the position of Undersecretary for Science in the U.S. Department of Energy (2006-09), as appointed by President George W. Bush. Currently the director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, Orbach directs a multidisciplinary institute at the University of Texas that combines the strengths of the university’s schools and colleges to advance solutions to current energy-related challenges.

Orbach also was the 14th director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, where he managed an organization that was the third-largest federal sponsor of basic research in the United States, a position that was confirmed by the senate in 2002. He served as the provost of the College of Letters and Science at UCLA from 1982-92 and was chancellor of the University of California- Riverside from 1992-2002. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The inaugural SEC Symposium will focus on research and development efforts in the renewable energy areas of bioenergy, solar energy and wind energy, and will display research results and findings among each SEC institution.

“We are excited for the inaugural SEC Symposium,” Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “This will provide an outstanding way in which to showcase the academic accomplishments and research efforts of our SEC institutions. We are honored to have someone of Dr. Orbach’s stature as our plenary speaker. His experience as one of the nation’s leading energy researchers speaks for itself.”

The 2013 SEC Symposium also will feature keynote lectures from Sam Baldwin, chief science officer at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, and from Steven J. Mirshak, global business director – cellulosic ethanol at DuPont Industrial Biosciences. A complete list of speakers for the 2013 SEC Symposium is below.

Registration for the 2013 SEC Symposium is now open and may be found online at


Using its SECU academic initiative, the SEC sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities. The SEC also provides an online platform to showcase achievements of these individuals on regional, national and international levels.

2013 SEC Symposium Presenters
• Plenary: Orbach
• Keynote: Baldwin
• Keynote: Mirshak
• Karen Guevara, U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River Operations Office

• Ajay Agrawal – professor, College of Engineering                            
• David Dixon – professor, Department of Chemistry                         
• Robin Rogers – chair, Department of Chemistry

• Alan Mantooth – distinguished professor, Electrical Engineering                             
• Keith Roper – associate professor, Emerging Technologies                           

• Conner Bailey – professor, Rural Sociology
• Song-yul Choe – associate professor, College of Engineering
• Mario Eden – professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
• Steven Taylor – professor, Biosystems Engineering Department

• Lonnie Ingram – professor, Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels
• Pramod Khargonekar – professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
• Gary Peter – professor, Forest Genomics and Cell Biology
• Lynn Sollenberger – professor, Agronomy Department


• Joy Peterson – associate professor, Microbiology
• C-J Tsai – professor, School of Forestry

• John Anthony – professor, Department of Chemistry
• Mark Croker – associate director for Applied Energy Research
• Burtron (Burt) Davis – associate director for Applied Energy Research

• Boldor
• Dismukes
• Spivey

• Wei-Yin Chen – professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
• J.P. Sharma – adjunct professor, School of Engineering

Mississippi State
• Brian Baldwin – professor, Plant and Soil Sciences
• Rafael Hernandez – associate professor, Bagley College of Engineering
• Marshall Molen – distinguished professor, Diversified Technology/Ergon
• Phil Steele – professor, FWRC, Forest Products


• Shibu Jose – professor, Center for Agroforestry
• Hank Stelzer – associate professor, Department of Forestry


South Carolina
• Roger Dougal – professor, Department of Electrical Engineering
• Martha Reifsnider – director of Education and Outreach
• Kenneth Reifsnider – professor, Mechanical Engineering

• Tim Rials – director, Center for Renewable Carbon
• Tom Zawodzinski – director, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Texas A&M
• David Claridge – professor, Mechanical Engineering
• Mark Holtzapple – professor, Chemical Engineering

• David Hess – professor, Department of Sociology
• Steve Krahn – professor of the Practice, Nuclear Environmental Engineering

For more information, contact Sean Cartell at or 205-458-3000 or visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012