BROOKINGS, S.D. — John McMaine has been named the university’s first recipient of the William Mibra Griffith and Byrne S. Griffith Endowed Chair in Agriculture and Water Resources Management. An investiture ceremony was held on campus Sept. 29 to honor McMaine and holders of other new endowed positions across the university.
McMaine, an assistant professor and SDSU Extension Water Management Engineer, has been a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering since 2017. His SDSU Extension and research activities have focused on agricultural and urban water management, water quality and preparing the next generation of water stewards. He has led or co-led several high-impact projects with external grant funding of over $6.8 million and key collaborations with organizations across the agricultural and environmental spectrum.
“John McMaine is an outstanding water resource engineer,” said Kasiviswanathan Muthukumarappan, Distinguished Professor and interim head of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. “His contributions to water resources have demonstrated the broad means of distributing critical information to stakeholders on the local, state and national scales. Through these efforts, he has reached a diverse audience including students, livestock producers, row-crop farmers and urban communities.”
The Griffith Chair in Agriculture and Water Resources is designed to connect water resources research and outreach with organizations across the state. This endowment also names McMaine as the director of the Water Resources Institute, an affiliate of the United States Geological Survey, which conducts water-related research and outreach across South Dakota. Additionally, he will serve as the director of the Mesonet at SDState, which provides South Dakotans with local, real-time weather data and critical soil moisture and snow pack data for water managers with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
“This endowment is an investment in the people of South Dakota and across the region,” said McMaine. “Water connects so many groups of people and different disciplines and I am thankful that we can expand capacity in such a critical area. In addition to research capacity, I am excited to continue to grow opportunities for stakeholders and students like the South Dakota Student Water Conference, which we are building with the goal of featuring between 60 and 80 student presenters from across the region and nation.”
McMaine earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biosystems and agricultural engineering from the University of Kentucky, and his Ph.D. in biosystems and agricultural engineering from Oklahoma State University.
The Griffith Chair in Agriculture and Water Resources is supported through the generosity of William and Byrne Griffith, now managed through the William Mibra and Byrne Smith Griffith Foundation, which supports SDSU scholarships, the arts, music, agriculture and educational programs at SDSU.
— SDSU CAFES