Happy New Year fellow Blue Hens!
I am thankful to enter a new year, be the new dean, and communicate with you in a new way. Indeed there are a lot of new and exciting things going on in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. I hope you will find this electronic newsletter - Food for Thought - worthwhile and informative. We intend to bring it to you several times per year to keep you up to date on our accomplishments, events, challenges and opportunities. Importantly, the electronic format allows you to provide feedback on various issues, or simply update us on new things in your life and work. We’d love to hear from you!
We are embarking on a college-wide master planning process, evaluating our core strengths and looking for ways that we can have greater impact on agriculture and natural resource issues that face Delaware and the world. As part of the master plan, we intend to grow enrollment to meet the demand for agriculture and natural resource professionals; studies show that there are almost two jobs for every graduate in the agriculture and natural resource sectors of the economy. The good news is that applications for admission to the college are up 26% compared to last year, so we’re off to a great start! For more on this topic, read the “Enrollment Outlook” story below.
We will also be examining our research and extension priorities as we build the master plan. Gone are the days when our college can do a little of everything. We are working to identify areas of selective excellence and focus our efforts on the most relevant issues to our region, and working with our neighbors at Rutgers, Maryland, Delaware State University, and Penn State to build synergy and avoid redundancy. As an example, see the story on Extension’s response to Hurricane Sandy and learn how people turned to us for information on preparation and mitigation of damage from this disastrous event.
I hope you’ll enjoy the stories in this issue of Food for Thought and remain engaged with us as we plan for the future. I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to put a few dates on your calendar. Delaware Ag Week is this week (Jan. 14-18), culminating in a Friends of Ag Breakfast highlighting the President of the National Chicken Council. Our college’s annual Ag Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, and UD’s Alumni Weekend will be May 31-June 2. All of these events will be firsts for me, and I look forward to meeting you at one or more of them.
~Mark Rieger, Dean
You can view the actual email message by clicking here, or select from the content below.
Q&A with Denise Lasher, daughter of Dr. Hiram Lasher
The College of Agriculture & Natural Resources recently spoke with Denise Lasher (AG ‘77), daughter of Dr. Hiram Lasher—a generous benefactor to the University of Delaware and a pioneer in avian vaccine development, who passed away in October 2012 at the age of 92. The family of Dr. Lasher established the “Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award,” benefiting graduate students pursuing studies in poultry health at UD. View the full interview with Denise here.
New Director of Development
CANR is pleased to welcome Daniel Sarkissian as our new Director of Development. Dan has been with the University for nearly 3 years and has done impressive work during his time with the College of Engineering as Associate Director of Development, showing great initiative in securing major gifts from individuals for the ISE Lab and scholarships. Dan can be reached at email@example.com or (302) 831-4595.
Thurman Adams Jr. Agricultural Research Farm
This past spring, the UD Board of Trustees announced the renaming of CANR’s Agricultural Research Farm in Georgetown, DE for the late Senator Thurman Adams, in honor of his tireless efforts to secure funding and support for its facilities and programs.
View a video about Senator Adams and his contributions to UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the CANR YouTube channel or visit view the online photo album from the official dedication and sign unveiling in October 2012.
Alumni of Distinction
Seven CANR graduates were honored for their professional achievements at our annual Distinguished Alumni ceremony on Friday, Oct. 19. Bruce Cobb (AG ’84), Carol Long (AG ’90), Daral Jackwood (AG ’78), and Mark Jackwood (AG ’78, MS ’82) were honored with Distinguished Alumni awards. Jennifer McEntire (AG ’99) and Jennifer Walls (AG ’01) were named Distinguished Young Alumni. In addition, the George M. Worrilow Award was presented to Ronald Ritter (AG ’75).
Nationwide, agriculture and related industries produce about 54,000 new jobs annually; however, there are only about 29,000 graduates from colleges like ours to fill those positions. That’s almost a 2:1 ratio of jobs to graduates–well paying jobs, as starting salaries for our graduates are above the median starting salary for college graduates. This presents an opportunity for UD, where we can grow our enrollment and step up degree production to both help place students into jobs immediately upon graduation, and help the industries whose missions we support.
Dr. Meyers Honored
Blake Meyers, chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Designation as a fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Meyers received the award in large part because of his contributions to bioinformatics and plant functional genomics of model and crop plants, especially in the area of small RNA biology.
Extension’s Web Presence and Hurricane Sandy
On October 5, Extension launched its new web presence. In the first six weeks of the site’s existence, 32,516 people visited the site, resulting in 66,745 page views. 82.75% of these hits were from new visitors. The site’s news features and subsequent posting to social media connected constituents with resources during Hurricane Sandy about livestock preparations, food safety during and after power outages, salt water inundation in fields, landscape cleanup, and talking to children about natural disasters.