Ross ready to lead Ag college

Stephanie Veldman

After searching for over a year, the College of Agriculture has appointed ISU faculty member Richard Ross as the college’s dean for the next two years. Interim President Richard Seagrave said Ross will bring experience, leadership and a great reputation as a scientist and administrator to the college. “[Ross] will help the college maintain its strong tradition in serving the people of the state,” Seagrave said. “He will also help the college continue to be a major player in the plants science initiative and hire leadership in the various departments and in the college that are going to need it.” Ross, who is also the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said he has a strong faculty and departmental programs to work with in the college. “The previous dean, Dr. [David] Topel deserves credit for the strengths of the college,” Ross said. “Faculty in the college, graduate and undergraduate students receive numerous awards every year . attesting to the quality of the college.” Ross said his goals for the next two years include emphasizing work in areas of information technology. He also wants to help faculty and students with the traditional agricultural issues, such as agronomy and animal science, as well as the issues of sustainable agriculture in rural communities. Ross also said student study-abroad programs are also important. “What we would like to see is an increase in students with international experience and study abroad experience,” he said. “They have to compete for jobs with young people from other countries, especially from European countries.” A provost-appointed search committee will be named shortly after Ross begins his second year since it will take nine to 12 months to find a new dean. “By that time Iowa State will have a new president, and that is rather important for a new dean to know, especially for a dean in the College of Ag,” Ross said. Ross said he plans to retire at the end of his term as dean. He had been dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine since 1993. Ross has served as interim dean of the College of Agriculture since February. “I like the development work, and I’m looking forward to doing private fundraising for the college,” he said. Ross said the college has great potential for donations from alumni and private donors. “The College of Agriculture has a lot of very loyal alumni and friends who would benefit from and invest money into the programs and departments,” he said Ross began his new position as dean of the College of Agriculture July 1. Ross said the provost will announce the name of an interim dean for the College of Veterinary Medicine in September.