Eden named dean of College of Engineering

By Austin Phillips

Following a national search, Mario Eden, the Joe T. and Billie Carole McMillan Professor and chair of Auburn University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, has been named as the 14th dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, according to an announcement by Provost Vini Nathan.

Eden was selected following an extensive interview and public process that included a diverse pool of nearly 60 applicants from some of the nation’s most premier and highly ranked engineering institutions. He began serving in this new role effective May 15.

“The quality of applicants and applications we received from across the country is testimony to the stature of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering,” Nathan said. “After carefully reviewing feedback from the search committee, faculty, staff, students, alumni and AU leadership, it was apparent that Dr. Eden is the person we need leading the College of Engineering forward. I am confident that, through his leadership, he will help elevate the college to become one of the preeminent engineering institutions in the country.”

Eden succeeds Steve Taylor, who was named as interim dean in April 2022 when then-Dean Chris Roberts was named as Auburn University’s 21st president. Taylor has accepted the role as Auburn’s senior vice president for research and economic development, and will begin that appointment June 1.

“Dr. Taylor is a consummate professional, and Auburn is indebted to him for his thoughtful leadership, dedication and commitment during this interim period,” Nathan said.

Eden served as chair and professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering since 2012, as an associate professor from 2008-12 and as an assistant professor from 2004-08. From 2014-16, he also served a term as acting director of the Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering. As the chemical engineering department chair, Eden led the department to its highest U.S. News & World Report Graduate Program ranking ever; increased undergraduate enrollment to record numbers with incoming freshmen with ACT scores of 30 or higher for 11 years in a row; successfully added 17 tenure-track faculty members and two full-time lecturers during the past 10 years, including the department achieving the highest percentage of female full professors among any chemical engineering department in the country; increased philanthropic support of the program by millions of dollars; and successfully led the department through the national accreditation process in 2016 and 2022.

Eden earned master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark in 1999 and 2003, respectively. His expertise and research interests center on process systems engineering and computer-aided process engineering; process simulation, design, integration and optimization; and product and molecular synthesis/design. Eden has established a strong record of scholarly productivity and academic achievement, including more than 165 refereed publications and nearly 450 invited talks and conference presentations. He has secured more than $29 million in extramural grants and contracts as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI from a wide range of federal and industrial sources.

“Serving Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering has been one of the greatest blessings of my life,” Eden said. “I am so thankful for the chemical engineering department faculty, staff, students and alumni for the past decade, and I am humbled at this opportunity to take Auburn Engineering to the next level. This is truly a group effort, and together we can achieve even greater things because we believe in Auburn, and love it.”