Collective support enhances high voltage lab at MSU

Contact: Addie Mayfield

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, headquartered in Ridgeland, is benefitting Mississippi State’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering through a $300,000 lead gift for updates to the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory.

Housed in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory is the largest university-operated high voltage laboratory in North America. For more than 40 years, the lab has served as an independent, non-industrial, multipurpose facility designed to meet the evaluation needs of the industry and provide the necessary environment for academic research and education in high voltage engineering. It currently enables full-scale evaluation of large equipment with impulses up to 3000kV and 1000kV AC-voltage.

“The necessary investments and maintenance expenses related to operating a high voltage laboratory can be daunting; however, if investments are done wisely using high quality components and modern technologies, such upgrades are not needed very often,” said Joni Kluss, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and head of the high voltage laboratory. “The generous support from Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi and other strategic partners will ensure continued operation of the laboratory for many decades to come.”

Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi is a service organization owned by and serving Mississippi’s 26 member-owned electric power associations. These associations distribute electricity to more than 1.8 million Mississippians, serve more than 779,000 meters throughout the state, and maintain more than 94,700 miles of distribution line.

Having a longstanding history of support at MSU, Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi has enhanced scholarship opportunities, the Bagley College of Engineering, John C. Stennis Endowment in Political Science, and Extension Service, among other areas. Furthering such support, the recent five-year commitment will help secure the high voltage laboratory’s ability to maintain advanced capabilities with innovative technologies.

“The majority of our board consists of MSU engineering graduates who worked in this high voltage laboratory as students. They understand how important it is,” said Michael Callahan, CEO of Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi. “We are proud to partner with the laboratory and appreciate their efforts in providing valuable assistance to our industry.”

The organization’s gift, joined with an additional lead gift from Entergy Mississippi of Jackson, as well as contributions from other strategic partners including Irby Company of Columbus, Siemens Industry Inc. of Jackson, and Quanta Technology of Raleigh, North Carolina, has provided over $750,000 in collective support for the laboratory updates.

“We are incredibly grateful for corporate partners like Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi, Entergy, Siemens, Quanta, and Irby,” said Jason Keith, dean of the Bagley College and holder of the Earnest W. and Mary Ann Deavenport Chair in Engineering. “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 high voltage lab as students.”

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 the laboratory for materials assessment, product development and design, compliance and quality assurance, monitoring and measurement, and in-service equipment.

 “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.”

For more information on how to contribute to the Bagley College’s Paul B. Jacob High Voltage Laboratory, contact Bennett Evans, senior director of development, 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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