Virginia Tech Names New Dean For College Of Agriculture And Life Sciences

BLACKSBURG, Va., May 20, 2003 – Sharron S. Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture at Montana State University and director of the Montana Agriculture Experiment Station, will become the first woman to serve as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech when she begins her new duties on Aug. 1. She replaces Gregory L. Brown, dean of the College of Natural Resources, who has also been interim dean of CALS since the retirement of Andy Swiger on Jan. 1.

"Dean Quisenberry has quite an impressive record in administration and in scholarly pursuits, including significant national and international contributions to agricultural research. She is strongly committed to serving the needs of her constituencies and is in a position to provide leadership to food and agriculture development at the international level. I look forward to working with her," said Mark McNamee, provost and vice president for academic affairs, in announcing the appointment.

Brown also praised the new dean. "Sharron Quisenberry will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the CALS dean's position at Virginia Tech. I have had the opportunity to discuss numerous issues with her, and have been impressed with her understanding and innovative approach to dealing with these issues. Virginia Tech is very fortunate to have Dr. Quisenberry join us, and I look forward to working with her as a colleague dean across instructional programs as well as the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension," he said.

Quisenberry, who was recently appointed by President Bush to serve on the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, has been the dean of agriculture and director of the experiment station at Montana State since 1999 and before that headed the Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for four years. A professor of entomology and a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), she has taught at the University of Nebraska, University of Idaho, Louisiana State University, and Iowa State University.

"The college and Cooperative Extension/Agriculture Experiment Station division are not only critical to the land-grant mission but must also play a central role in the university's future. I look forward to working with university colleagues to achieve the goal of becoming a top-30 research institution by the end of the decade," Quisenberry said.

Quisenberry's own research focuses on plant/insect interactions and plant resistance to insects, and she is recognized both nationally and internationally as an expert in those areas. Her projects have concentrated on insects related to wheat, rice, bermudagrass, tall fescue alfalfa, and livestock. She has published more than 165 professional papers and lectured at more than 90 international, national, and regional professional meetings. Her grants have come from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Murdock Trust, Ford Foundation, and industry. She has held a U.S. patent and insect resistant germplasm registrations with colleagues.

During the past three years of her leadership, the College of Agriculture at Montana State has attracted over $11 million in federal grant initiatives and $4.7 million for scholarships and the general fund.

A past president of ESA, she currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Montana Governor's Economic Policy Advisory Committee, Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, Agriculture Experiment Station Directors Section of the National Association of State Universities and Land-grant Colleges, and several agriculture-related Montana state associations. Last year, she was a member of the Montana Economic Advisory Council and the Montana Food Processing and Value-added Agriculture Advisory Council. She has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of Entomological Science and the Journal of Economic Entomology and as science advisor for Dragonfly Magazine.

Quisenberry holds four degrees, including two master's degrees. She received a Ph.D. and Master of Science, both in entomology, from the University of Missouri-Columbia; a Master of Arts in environmental biology from Hood College, and a B.S. Ed. in biology from Truman State University.

Peter Eyre, dean of Virginia Tech's Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and chair of the search committee for the dean said he "could not have been more pleased about the outcome. Dr. Quisenberry was the overwhelming choice of the committee and the university community. She has an impeccable record in research, teaching, outreach, and shared university governance and has been recognized nationally for her leadership. Dr. Quisenberry possesses the vision and willingness to make changes. I am certain that she will lead our fine College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to even greater heights in the future. I look forward to working with her."