Donald L. Birx, Ph.D., became the 15th president of Plymouth State University on July 31, 2015.
Dr. Birx served as the chancellor of Pennsylvania State University, Behrend College, and was responsible for the quality of the college’s academic programs in teaching, research and service, and its overall operations, including strategic planning, human resources, enrollment management, fundraising, marketing, alumni and community relations, intercollegiate athletics and outreach.
Before joining Penn State Behrend, Dr. Birx served as vice chancellor and vice president for research for the University of Houston System (UH). His accomplishments there included the initiation of systemwide, multidisciplinary clusters that spanned UH’s colleges and campuses, focusing on strategic collaboration in the areas of nano-materials, energy and natural resources, biomedicine, complex systems, community advancement and education and arts and human enrichment. At UH, Dr. Birx founded the Center for Industrial Partnerships, a joint endeavor to translate research to practical applications and increase interplay between the business community and the university’s research faculty. In addition, he held the appointment of full professor of electrical engineering.
Prior to his work at UH, Dr. Birx was interim vice provost/president for research and professor of physics at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Dr. Birx began his career in academia following industry experience with Systems Research Laboratories, Inc., in Dayton, Ohio, where he advanced from senior scientist to principal investigator, then general manager of the company’s intelligent systems division, and finally vice president and team leader of technology and new ventures.
Dr. Birx holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the University of California, Berkeley; a master’s degree in physics and an MBA in finance, both from Miami University of Ohio; and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Dayton. He and his wife, Linda, have four children.