DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — Delaware Valley College has named Russell Redding, secretary of agriculture in the Rendell Administration, as dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Redding starts immediately. He replaces Dean Judith Schwank, who is leaving to run for the state Senate in her home district of Berks County.
Discussions between the college and Redding started two years ago when the dean’s position first became vacant.
“Dr. Brosnan picked up where that conversation let off,” Redding said. “Much has changed in a very positive way since then. There are plans for a new life sciences center. A strategic plan calling for university status has been approved. And the college received the gift of the Gemmill Campus.”
The 398-acre campus in Jamison was part of a $30 million gift in September from the Warwick Foundation and the Gemmill family. Redding will help the college decide how to use the property, which is a working farm.
Redding said the call from Joseph Brosnan, president of the school, came just as he was leaving Harrisburg with the rest of Gov. Rendell’s cabinet.
After a visit to the campus and continued discussions, the outgoing cabinet member determined DelVal was indeed the next logical step.
Redding served a total of 16 years in the State Department of Agriculture and was appointed secretary in 2009. He has an innate understanding of production agriculture, having worked on his family’s dairy farm in Gettysburg. For a time he ran his own dairy operation with his wife, Nina. Redding is a Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s in agriculture and extension education.
Redding has been involved with Future Farmers of America for three decades and served as vice president of the state organization. As dean, Redding said he will concentrate on leadership, communications and outreach.
Redding, his wife and two sons — Garrison, 16, and Elliot, 15 — make their home in Adams County, south of Carlisle. Delaware Valley College is an independent, multi-disciplinary, four-year residential institution in Doylestown, Pa.