Christopher A. Snyder will lead Mississippi State's Shackouls Honors College as the inaugural dean.
In making the announcement, Jerry Gilbert, university provost and executive vice president, said Snyder's appointment as dean represents an elevated leadership role from the previous position of college director. Snyder officially begins work Aug. 1, he added.
An authority on medieval history, Synder has been serving since 2006 as director of the honors program and professor of European history at Marymount University in Arlington, Va.
Gilbert said MSU takes pride in the stature and strides achieved by the Shackouls Honors College since 2006, when a $10 million gift by Bobby and Judy Shackouls of Houston, Texas, led to its creation.
The college currently enrolls more than 1,000. For more, visit www.honors.msstate.edu/.
"We are delighted to have a person of Dr. Snyder's caliber to assume the role as the first dean," Gilbert said. "He will have an opportunity to build on a solid foundation of excellence and take us to a new level."
Following his visit to Starkville, Snyder said the students with whom he had interacted impressed him with their eagerness to take on new challenges. He also acknowledged a strong sense of community among the college faculty and staff, as well.
"My first priority will be getting to know them better and hearing their ideas about honors education so we can, together, create a rigorous and distinctive curriculum for the college," Snyder said.
Related to his Marymount duties, Snyder also directs the Arlington-based National Celtic Heritage Center. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in medieval history from Emory University, and a bachelor's in medieval and renaissance studies from West Virginia University.
He has written six books and edited two others. He also has authored numerous book chapters, journal articles, and film and book reviews.
Additionally, he has been featured on television on the History Channel and British Broadcasting Corp., and had articles published in the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.
"I'm very excited about coming to Mississippi State University and to lead the Shackouls Honors College in its pursuit of academic excellence," Snyder said.