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FALL 2010
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Dean's Message

New Role Stirs Excitement for the Future

Dean Boor

As the leaves blanket the Ag Quad in beautiful autumnal hues, I feel privileged and honored to enjoy the scenery from my new office in Roberts Hall. Adjusting to the new responsibilities has been challenging, but it has also been incredibly exciting. Luckily, my predecessor Susan Henry steered the college on an excellent course during her 10 years at the helm and that has made my job that much easier.

Under her leadership, the college took a strategic approach to planning for the future. Our books are balanced, we are well on our way to “Reimagining CALS,” and recent mergers among eight sister departments are encouraging even closer collaborations across the Ithaca and Geneva campuses.

Our incredibly successful applied economics and management program continues to grow, and I was delighted to attend the celebration of its official designation as the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management last month. It was one of several of our graduate programs to rank among the top 10 in the nation according to a long-awaited study by the National Research Council, proving what we have long known: CALS is one of the best places in the world to conduct research in agricultural, environmental, and applied social sciences.

From my second-floor windows I am able to watch CALS students lunching on the lawn, lounging on the new sod sofa, or rushing to class, and it serves as a daily reminder of why we are all here: to educate our students, to give them the tools they need to help solve critical societal problems, and to send them out as leaders.

Before I became the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, before I established the Food Safety Laboratory and served as chair of the Department of Food Science, I was an undergraduate student at Cornell. I left with a B.S. in food science in 1980 and returned 14 years later, drawn back to my alma mater because of its appreciation and commitment to problem-solving research that spans discovery to application.

In my new administrative role, I will strive to ensure that CALS continues to attract the best and brightest faculty to Ithaca and Geneva to conduct their research and teach our students. This also has been identified as a priority at the university level, with the recent launch of the Cornell Faculty Renewal Initiative. A $100 million fund is being established to accelerate the hiring of faculty over the next five years to attract more people like burgeoning biochar expert Johannes Lehmann and our young innovator award winner Ruth Ley, who are both featured inside these pages.

I have gained my entire education at land grant institutions. I firmly believe in the concept of public engagement and its practical application, and I look forward to ensuring that mission is reflected in everything we do here at CALS.

Many of the most important issues that we face today—climate change, food security, economic and environmental sustainability—are complex questions that require multidisciplinary solutions. By taking advantage of the amazing depth and breadth of academic resources we have here at CALS, we can form natural collaborations that make a big difference. By continuing to work closely with our outreach partners locally and around the globe, we can amplify that impact and truly become land grant university to the world.

Kathryn J. Boor, Ph.D.
The Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences