Ohio State University names Bruce McPheron new ag dean

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ABOVE: Dr. Bruce McPheron, shown here Wednesday at Penn State University’s Ag Progress Days, was named the new dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on Thursday.



COLUMBUS — The Ohio State University has announced alumnus Bruce McPheron will become the next vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

McPheron is currently dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University and will start his new appointment Nov. 1, subject to approval by the board of trustees.

He will succeed Bobby Moser, who has served as dean and vice president since 1991. Moser announced his retirement in September 2011.

“Dr. McPheron is an Ohioan by birth, an Ohio State alumnus, and spent three years working as a county Extension educator in the state,” said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. “He brings a global view and worldwide experience back to Ohio to lead one of Ohio State’s most important educational programs. I am delighted that we have been fortunate enough to attract him back home.”

Background

Originally from Kenton, Ohio, McPheron began his career as a 4-H county Extension educator in Ohio in the early 1980s and, since 1988, has worked in research and teaching at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

In 2002, he was named associate dean and director of Pennsylvania’s agricultural experiment station, and he was appointed dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences July 1, 2009.

For more than a decade, he has served on the college’s leadership team, first as associate dean and director of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station and as dean since 2009.

“I look forward to my return to Ohio and The Ohio State University,” McPheron said. “The importance of agriculture in the state’s economy demands that we provide cutting-edge science to solve problems in food security, human health, and food safety. Ohio State has a national reputation for translating research to practice, an absolute necessity as we demonstrate that agricultural innovation is a job creator in partnership with the private sector.

“The educational mission of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is equally important. OSU Extension is literally the front door to the university in every community in Ohio, and our resident instruction programs will ensure that we fill the pipeline with career-ready graduates who will lead the way in food, energy, and environmental systems,” he said.

“I’m going home, and the opportunity does fill me with excitement and anticipation, but there is a bittersweet edge to those emotions,” said McPheron. “It is hard to think of leaving my family’s home for the past 24 years.”

Experienced advocate

McPheron has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the farm bill and the importance of the programs authorized under that legislation for the integrated research, Extension, and higher education mission of the nation’s land-grant universities.

A highly respected scholar, McPheron is known globally for his research in insect genetics, including the development of new genetic tools for monitoring the spread of invasive fruit fly species. His scholarly interests also include international agriculture and agricultural biosecurity with research conducted throughout much of Latin America, in Africa and in Australia.

McPheron has a national reputation in agricultural leadership that includes serving as chair of the experiment station component of the Board of Agriculture Assembly of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). He now serves as chair-elect of APLU’s Policy Board of Directors of the Board on Agriculture Assembly and has served nationally in LEAD-21, the country’s professional development program for agricultural leaders that promotes linkages among research, academics, and extension.

McPheron earned his bachelor’s degree in entomology with honors at Ohio State, and his master’s degree in biology and his doctorate in entomology at the University of Illinois.

Personal life

McPheron and his wife, Marilyn, an artist and children’s book author and illustrator, have two children. Their son is a Navy rescue swimmer and antisubmarine warfare specialist, and their daughter is a senior majoring in photography at Penn State.

Penn State said it will appoint an interim dean as soon as possible and initiate a national search to identify McPheron’s successor, with the objective of having a new dean in place by July 1, 2013.

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