MSU Bagley College of Engineering high voltage laboratory gains Entergy Mississippi support

Contact: Addie Mayfield

Researchers from Mississippi State’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems conduct work in the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory. Support from Entergy Mississippi will provide for updates to the facility, which is utilized for academic research and education in high voltage engineering and to meet the evaluation needs of the industry. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Generous support from Entergy Mississippi of Jackson will enhance the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University.

Entergy Mississippi’s most recent commitment provides a $250,000 lead gift for updates within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering facility. In addition, Entergy’s transmission organization has provided a Hi-VARC Arrestor Tester in-kind gift to the laboratory.

Constructed in 1977, the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory at MSU serves as an independent, non-industrial, multipurpose facility designed to provide the necessary environment for academic research and education in high voltage engineering and meet the evaluation needs of the industry. It is the largest university-operated high voltage laboratory in North America, enabling full-scale evaluation of large equipment with impulses up to 3000kV and 1000 kV AC-voltage.

“We are excited about the partnership with Mississippi State University and the opportunity to train the future generation of power engineers,” said Jim Schott, vice president of Entergy transmission. “We look forward to providing the students resources, as well as lab and research experience to expand their development and growth opportunities.”

Joni Kluss, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and head of the high voltage laboratory, said, “The goal of this renovation is to maintain high-performance capabilities using modern and safe technologies.” He noted that safety remains a critical priority, adding, “Entergy and the Bagley College are working together throughout this upgrade process to develop more advanced safety protocols and training for the laboratory and related industries.”

The Mississippi-based utility provider’s leadership also was instrumental in generating a second lead gift from Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, headquartered in Ridgeland, as well as additional contributions from other strategic partners including Irby Company of Columbus, Siemens Industry Inc. of Jackson, and Quanta Technology of Raleigh, North Carolina. These collective commitments have generated over $750,000 in support of laboratory updates.

Jason Keith, Bagley College dean, said the university is grateful for corporate partners like Entergy, Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, Siemens, Quanta, and Irby.

“This is an investment not only in the laboratory and the services it provides to industry, but also in the power industry workforce of the future, as evidenced by the many engineers at these companies who trained in the Mississippi State high voltage lab as students,” added Keith, also holder of the Earnest W. and Mary Ann Deavenport Chair in Engineering.

“The high voltage laboratory experience and practical hands-on knowledge provided by MSU is unparalleled by any other university in North America,” said Kluss. “Not only are students and researchers exposed to specialized instrumentation, rare equipment and unique facilities, they also benefit from exposure to industrial standards and practices, form relationships with potential future employers, and remain up-to-date on modern advances and trends.”

In addition to undergraduate and graduate-level courses, the laboratory also offers seminars for students and faculty, short courses for engineers and opportunities for graduate assistantships and undergraduate research in high voltage engineering. The facility also is a valuable resource for manufacturers, utilities, consulting firms and other external agencies who utilize it for materials assessment, product development and design, compliance and quality assurance, monitoring and measurement, and in-service equipment.

“This collaboration between the university and industry is essential for workforce development and remaining competitive on a national and international level—something which is particularly relevant now during this age of rapidly advancing technologies and grid modernization,” Kluss said.

The generous combined commitments will address the current needs of the high voltage laboratory and ensure its ongoing viability and enhanced capabilities to support the university and region with testing, research and development of future industry professionals.

For nearly 40 years, ongoing support from Entergy Mississippi has assisted various areas across MSU including the Bagley College of Engineering, College of Business, School of Architecture, entrepreneurship programming, cooperative education, scholarships and Promise scholarship awards, among others. As the Magnolia State’s unit of the New Orleans, Louisiana-based Entergy Corporation, Entergy Mississippi provides electricity to approximately 449,000 customers in 45 of Mississippi’s 82 counties.

For more information on how to contribute to the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory, contact Bennett Evans, senior director of development for the Bagley College of Engineering, at 662-325-0386 or, or Alex McIntosh, director of corporate and foundation relations for the MSU Foundation, at 662-325-8227 or

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