Ohio State names Cathann Kress new ag dean

Cathann Kress, Ohio State
Cathann Kress, current vice president for Extension and outreach, at Iowa State University, has been named the new dean of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

(Updated with quotes from the new dean.)

COLUMBUS — Dr. Cathann Kress has been named vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University.

Kress, the first female to hold the top post at Ohio State’s ag college, is the current vice president for Extension and outreach at Iowa State University. In her role at Iowa State, she also serves as director of ISU Extension.

She will start her appointment May 1, pending approval of Ohio State’s board of trustees. Their next meeting is April 6-7.

Kress will succeed Dr. Bruce McPheron, who was named provost and executive vice president at Ohio State in June 2016.

“Dr. Kress is an accomplished leader,” said McPheron in making the announcement March 6. “Her experience at Cornell and Iowa State, and in Washington D.C., have prepared her to help Ohio State and the college take up the many opportunities that lie ahead.”

“It’s an honor to join the incredible community of faculty, staff, and volunteers dedicated to all of CFAES’ missions in education, research, outreach, and service,” Kress said in an email to Farm and Dairy.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been dedicated to the intersection where agriculture, education, and communities meet,” she added. “Combine CFAES’ capacity with Ohio’s massive and diverse food and agricultural industry, the breadth of producers and products, and the possibilities are endless.”


Prior to joining Iowa State in 2011, Kress was a senior policy analyst and program lead for Military Community and Family Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington D.C.

She earned both doctorate and master’s degrees in education from the University of Iowa, and a bachelor’s of science in social work from Iowa State University. Kress has taught undergraduate and graduate students at all levels. Her research and applied research efforts have focused on impacts on rural populations.

She is also incoming chair of the Administrative Heads Section of the Board on Agriculture Assembly for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

Prior to joining the Department of Defense in 2008, Kress was director of youth development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service for six years. There, she provided national leadership for youth programs administered through Cooperative Extension and land-grant universities, and also established the mission and role of the National 4-H headquarters.

From 2000 to 2002, Kress was assistant director of Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension and the state program leader for 4-H Youth Development.

Kress serves as a trustee of the National 4-H Council, as a designee of the STEM Advisory Council on the Iowa Governor’s Stem Initiative, and also serves as a trustee to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

She has three adult children, two sons and a daughter.

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