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Dr. Carlos Vargas became the 18th president of Southeast Missouri State University on July 1, 2015, after having served as acting president at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.
The appointment of Dr. Vargas by the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents culminated a comprehensive and wide-ranging search process that began in the fall of 2014.
When named as the University's 18th president, Dr. Vargas said, "Southeast Missouri State University is an outstanding university with a national reputation, and I am honored to have been selected as its next president." Vargas said that as he became more familiar with the university, he was impressed with various aspects of Southeast including its core mission, accreditation efforts, online programs, faculty and staff, and the quality and diversity of its students.
"When I visited the Southeast Missouri State University campus, I was impressed with the institution's long history of service to the region and its unique strengths," Vargas said. "I know Southeast is deeply committed to being accessible and affordable, and continuing to offer accredited academic programs where graduates can meet the needs of employers."
Dr. Vargas was named acting president of Kutztown University by the institution's Council of Trustees, July 1, 2014, following Kutztown University's succession plan for acting president. He served as the provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, and had been the school's chief academic officer since 2006.
Prior to his tenure at Kutztown, Dr. Vargas was at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. He previously served in several roles at Kent State University (Ohio) for a total of 18 years, including founding director of the program on electron beam technology. He was also Kent's associate dean for research, interim assistant dean for research, and he served as interim assistant dean for the School of Technology. He started his tenure at Kent State in 1985 as a professor, and continued to teach until his departure from the university.
Dr. Vargas began his career in higher-education at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. His initial appointment was as a senior associate researcher for the Institute of Geophysics, and he later held a similar position for the University's Institute of Physics.
He earned his Ph.D. in physics and aerospace science from the University of Michigan and he has Master of Science degrees from Michigan in physics and aerospace science. He is married to Pam Vargas, who currently serves as director of Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Southeast , and they have a son, a daughter, and one granddaughter.