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Last updated: Saturday, 14-Mar-2009 19:11:14 Central Daylight Time

June 10, 1999


New Dean Named at UW-RF Agriculture College

A specialist in crop production has been named dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at UW-River Falls.

William Anderson will assume the leadership of the second largest undergraduate non-land grant agriculture program in the nation on Aug. 1. He replaces Gary Rohde, a former Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture who is retiring after guiding the program for 18 years.

Anderson is the director of the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio, and associate dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University.

In announcing the appointment on June 7, Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau said Anderson brings the vision, academic credentials and experience that will lead the College into the next millennium.

"I'm delighted that Dr. Anderson has joined the UW-River Falls community as Dean of CAFES. His background, work experience and interests in the broad discipline areas represented in the college make him an ideal 'fit' for this important deanship," Thibodeau said.

"Dr. Anderson brings enthusiasm and visionary leadership to a college noted for its strong academic programs and committed faculty. We look forward to his contributions, and to the positive visibility he will bring to the college and university in Wisconsin and throughout the nation."

Anderson said he was pleased with the appointment and will feel comfortable at UW-RF because of his familiarity with the College and its faculty from his professional experiences.

He noted that his respect for CAFES started early in his career while he was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota-Waseca campus. Anderson routinely sent graduates interested in transferring to a baccalaureate institution to CAFES. "UW-River Falls has a great reputation, and I recommended the campus very highly to graduates who wished to further their education."

He continued, "When the Waseca campus closed in 1992, I actually contacted UW-River Falls to see if there were any positions open, because I knew of the calibre of the faculty and had seen the facilities on previous occasions. About the same time, I received an invitation to interview for the Director/Associate Dean position within the College of Agriculture at The Ohio State University, and I accepted that position shortly thereafter."

He said that he formed personal acquaintanceships with many CAFES faculty through professional conferences, in addition to collegial relationships when some of those faculty previously taught at UM-Waseca. That made it an easy decision to apply for the dean's position, he added.

He noted that he's pleased to be able to continue his career in education while having the opportunity to impact Wisconsin's agricultural industry. "I also want to be in the position to support agriculture in Wisconsin, which is the state's No. 1 industry. It has an incredible impact on the state's economy."

One of Anderson's special interest areas is forage crops. "The thought of working in Wisconsin with its acres and acres of alfalfa, corn silage, and pasture, as well as the dairy and other livestock that depend on these and other forages, is very appealing. And to work at one of Wisconsin's premiere institutions of higher education that is nationally respected for its practical instruction in production agriculture, agri-business and agricultural education is also very satisfying."

Anderson's appointment will provide him the opportunity to substantially influence the future of agriculture in the Upper Midwest. The UW-RF College includes 1,350 students and 66 faculty and staff with a $3.8 million annual budget. The College contains five academic departments: agricultural economics; agricultural education; agricultural engineering technology; animal & food science; and plant & earth science. They offer 14 majors and 16 minors of academic study, as well as interdisciplinary programs in biotechnology and in marketing communications.

A particular strength is the College's aggressive Cooperative Education & Internship Programs, with faculty and students partnering with business and industry. For over 30 years CAFES has worked with employers in agricultural business, the agricultural sciences, resource management, education and government to provide students with real world work experiences.

Outreach programs will continue to flourish under Anderson. "I am very interested in community outreach. That includes serving placebound students via distance learning, and serving the agricultural industry via work force training. I'll partner with anyone that wishes to create a win/win situation for the students."

Anderson also will manage a physical plant that includes two laboratory farms with nearly 580 acres of land for education, research and production.

Anderson will immediately be faced with two major academic initiatives affecting Wisconsin's dairy industry. He will be seeking approval this fall from the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to offer a dairy science major. That is likely to be considered in October when the Regents visit UW-RF to conduct their monthly business meeting.

With 114 students enrolled in the CAFES dairy option program, UW-RF has the largest undergraduate dairy program among the 110 programs offered at universities nationwide.

The new dean also will assume leadership of the final planning stages of the College's $3.4 million new Dairy Teaching Facility. Groundbreaking is expected at UW-RF's Mann Valley Farm in the spring of 2000. It will include seven structures and an 80-cow milking herd.

Prior to his appointment at Ohio State University, Anderson held appointments in the department of agronomy at the University of Minnesota - Waseca, where he earned the rank of professor and served as discipline leader.

At Ohio State, in addition to his administrative duties, Anderson has continued to teach in the field of agronomy. He has frequently published in professional journals, and made numerous presentations at professional meetings. He has served as a career and student club adviser, coached intercollegiate crop judging teams, conducted educational research, supervised interns and supervised college farm activities. Currently, Anderson is the chair of the Technical Agriculture Association, an affiliate of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

Anderson has received numerous honors and awards including the 1985 UMW Distinguished Teaching Award, 1985 Minnesota Association of Colleges and Teachers in Agriculture Meritorious Teaching Award and he is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.

He holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy and master's degree in turfgrass physiology, both from Ohio State, and a doctorate in crop production physiology from the University of Nebraska.

Anderson and his wife Reatha have two grown sons who reside with their families in Minneapolis.


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