LSU Names Clint Willson Dean of the College of the Coast & Environment

May 13, 2024

Clint Willson

BATON ROUGE – LSU has named Clint Willson dean of the College of the Coast & Environment, effective June 1. Willson has held the appointment on an interim basis since July 1, 2023, and has been selected to serve in the role permanently after competing in a national search. Willson holds the Mike N. Dooley, P.E. Professorship in Civil & Environmental Engineering.

Willson has been with LSU since 1998, and his leadership and research experiences include serving as the founding director of the LSU Center for River Studies and the Vincent A. Forte Coastal & Hydraulics Lab, both collaborations with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA); director of Engineering Design and Innovation at the Water Institute of the Gulf; and a fellow of the Coastal Studies Institute.

Willson received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and his bachelor’s degree with honors in Aerospace Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.

"Dr. Willson has been an integral part of LSU's success in coastal studies and river dynamics over the past 25 years," LSU President William F. Tate IV said. "These are areas of particular strength for LSU, and it's the reason why the coast is one of our Scholarship First Agenda priorities. LSU excels in this area, not only due to our location on the Mississippi River and near the Gulf of Mexico, but also because of the long-term expertise in this area by Dr. Willson and our other key faculty. Dr. Willson will build upon this strength and lead LSU to even greater levels of excellence.”

Willson's early research used experimental and numerical approaches to better understand fundamental flow and transport processes in porous media, with applications to novel site assessment and remediation techniques, nanoparticle transport, and improved well production. More recently, Willson has primarily worked on research using physical and numerical models of river and delta hydrodynamics/hydraulics and sediment transport. He has led or been part of research teams responsible for over $21 million dollars in funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation, ACS Petroleum Research Fund, Advanced Energy Consortium, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and CPRA.

“Dr. Willson is an experienced and trusted leader, and a distinguished scholar with a proven track record in research excellence,” said Executive Vice President & Provost Roy Haggerty. “His unique background in coastal engineering and environmental science exemplifies LSU’s commitment to translating research into tangible solutions for coastal resilience and sustainability. It could not be a better time to have someone like Clint Willson to lead LSU and the state of Louisiana through its most pressing environmental challenges.”

While at LSU, Willson has received numerous awards, including the Worley Professor of Excellence, the William A. Brookshire Award for Teaching Excellence, and the 2022–2023 Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor, the highest award conferred to faculty by the Ogden Honors College. After graduating from Penn State, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

“I am both honored and humbled that the LSU leadership has entrusted me with this opportunity,” said Clint Willson. “The College has a long history of impactful environmental, coastal and ocean research, not only in our state but across the nation and world. I look forward to building upon my long-time collaborations with students, staff and faculty from across our campus and the LSU system to ensure healthy and resilient ecosystems, communities and infrastructure for our citizens.”