Dr. Stephen W. Searcy, head of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, retired on Monday, August 31, 2020, after 40 years of service.
Dr. Searcy began his road to academic success by earning a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Missouri in 1974. He went on to earn a B.S. and an M.S. in Agricultural Mechanization also from the University of Missouri in 1976. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1980. Dr. Searcy began his employment with Texas A&M University in 1980, as a part of the Department of Agricultural Engineering, which changed its name to the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in 2001. During his time in the department, he took on many roles including the associate department head to Dr. Gary Riskowski before being appointed interim department head in 2010 and finally being named the head of the department in 2012.
During his time in the department, the primary focus of his teaching and research programs was power and machinery with an emphasis on intelligent machine systems. However, Dr. Searcy has conducted research on a number of topics including machine control systems, computer vision, microprocessor applications, and crop establishment techniques. His research efforts have been widely published in peer-reviewed academic journals and he has won many awards for his efforts, including the Missouri Honor Award, Paper awards and Blue-Ribbon Extensions Aids awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and many more. In 2015, the department of Biological and Agricultural celebrated its Centennial with celebrations led by Dr. Searcy. Additionally, he co-authored the book Engineering Agriculture at Texas A&M: The First Hundred Years, with the late Henry C. Detholff.
On top of his many academic achievements, Dr. Searcy is also a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) where he has served many roles, most recently as a member of the Board of Trustees, treasurer, and President from 2017-2018. In addition to his active role in ASABE, he is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and is a registered professional engineer.
Dr. Searcy will be missed, but we wish him all the best in his retirement! Dr. John Tracy, director of the Texas Water Resources Institute, has been appointed as the interim department head. More information on Dr. Tracy’s appointment can be found at https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/08/31/tracy-appointed-interim-head-for-department-of-biological-and-agricultural-engineering/.