Prentiss native still educating after 40 years

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Dr. Charles Magee, a native of Prentiss, grew up on a small family farm in Jefferson Davis, County.  He earned a BS degree in General Agriculture (Animal Science), 1970, from Alcorn State University, Lorman, degree in Agricultural Engineering, 1973, from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota; and a PhD in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, 1980, from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

Dr. Magee’s educational and professional career has covered more than 40 years at seven different universities.  He has held several administrative positions in the agricultural and engineering sciences at two land-grant universities.

Some of Magee’s most significant accomplishments are:

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First and only Alcorn State University graduate to earn a PhD degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

First African American to earn an MS degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

First African American to earn a PhD degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University.  And the third African American in the United States to earn a PhD degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

First patent in the history of Fort Valley State University (Fort Valley, GA), and Biological Systems Engineering at Florida A&M University (FAMU).  Dr. Magee has a total of ten United States patents, one co-patent, and six pending patents.

First African American graduate of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to earn a PhD degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

A founding and charter member of the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences,

First and founding director of Florida A&M University’s Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) program.

First African American Assistant Professor in the College of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

Founder and owner of Kairo Klocks, LLC.

Creator and executive producer of FAMU’s TV-20 TV show, Land-Grant Today.

Teacher of the Year, 2017, Florida Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (FL-ASABE).

Elected Senior Member, 2022 class of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Inducted into the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Hall of Fame, Oct. 6, 2022.

While Dr. Magee is proud of his many successes as a teacher, researcher, inventor, and administrator, he indicated that his greatest satisfaction is derived from mentoring students. 

Dr. Magee is a national leader and promoter for African Americans pursuing advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

During Dr. Magee’s 40 plus years in higher education, 14 of his former students and advisees have earned PhD degrees. 

Ten of the 14 earned their PhD degree in an engineering or science field.  Nine of the 14 PhDs are African American females. 

Further, five of his advisees are currently in PhD programs at four different universities, and one is in an MS program.