(Scroll down to watch incoming dean Dr. Bruce McPheron’s remarks at the 2012 Farm Science Review.)
LONDON, Ohio — There was an unofficial changing of the guard during last week’s Farm Science Review, the annual exposition that showcases agriculture, and specifically Ohio agriculture and Ohio State University.
Retiring Ohio State University ag college dean and university vice president, Dr. Bobby Moser, said his farewells to a crowd of approximately 650 people during the Vice President’s Luncheon Sept. 18. And incoming dean, Dr. Bruce McPheron, who takes the post Nov. 1, offered his first greetings.
Turning a page
Moser, who has been with the university for 24 years, has spent the past 21 as dean, and is the longest tenured ag college dean in the nation.
“It’s time to turn a page in my life,” Moser said, “but I’m not going to stop reading.”
And the things he values most about his experience are the people — the faculty, staff and students, as well as the alumni and friends of the university. “It’s the people who make a difference.”
“Making connections is important,” he added. “I like to do that.”
One of those connections is current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who came to the Review luncheon as a final tribute to Moser.
“You are truly blessed to have had Bobby Moser in this capacity,” Vilsack said, “because he indeed is more than just the face of Ohio agriculture, he is also a passionate voice for Ohio agriculture.”
“I have learned a great deal from him.”
Coming home (kind of)
McPheron, a native of Hardin County and graduate of Ohio State, started his Extension career as an agent in Clermont County.
“My roots run deep here, both in the state and in the mission of this college,” McPheron told the Review luncheon crowd.
But when he was offered the Ohio State position, the first question he asked himself was, “‘Is this just a trip down memory lane?’ And that’s not the reason that I’ve come back.”
The state, the college and he have all changed since he received his bachelor’s degree, he said, and there’s no going back.
“This is a very different place and a very different time, and we will do great things together.”
Morrill Act anniversary
Both Moser and McPheron spoke of the creation of the land grant university system, the result of the Morrill Act that was passed by Congress 150 years ago in 1862, and agreed that it the legislation was, quite possibly, one of the most important ever crafted.
Enacted the same year as the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act, which expanded the nation geographically, the Morrill Act opened the doors of higher education to those outside the upper class.
“The Morrill Act stretched us vertically,” McPheron said. “It stretched our minds by creating this marvelous land grant university system.”
While some are questioning the value of the system 150 years later, McPheron said it’s just as valid as it was in 1862.
“We are the engine of innovation for society through our research,” he said. “We are the trainers of the next generation of leaders, of not only Ohio, but of this nation and the world.
“I’m ready to take on that job.”
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VIDEO: Dr. Bruce McPheron, speaking at Farm Science Review, Sept. 18, 2012: