Whitson Named New Dean of Agriculture at OSU


Gary Shutt
Communication Services
Oklahoma State University
(405) 744-4800
03/03/05

Dr. Robert E. Whitson

Dr. Robert E. Whitson, associate vice chancellor and associate dean at Texas A&M University, has been selected director and dean of the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, pending the approval of the OSU/ A&M Board of Regents at tomorrow’s meeting in Stillwater. His appointment will be effective June 1.

In addition to his current duties, Whitson is life sciences deputy director for the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station for Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University System. He’s been in the position since August of 2003.

“We have hired an outstanding agricultural expert and leader,” said David J. Schmidly, OSU System CEO and President. “Dr. Whitson has worked in extension, led an experiment station, and served as a department head and dean. He brings vast experience to one of OSU’s most important and influential positions.

“I want to thank Ed Miller for the solid job he has done as interim dean. And I want to thank our search committee for the hard work they did in helping us hire the No. 2 agriculture person at one of the nation’s largest land-grant universities. Dr. Whitson is extremely knowledgeable about commodity groups and issues and well versed in working with the legislature. We’re delighted to have Bob join the OSU team,” Schmidly said.

Along with his strong administrative background, Whitson has experience as a rancher and farmer, extension specialist, professor at Texas A&M, and as a banker.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me at one of America’s top agriculture colleges,” Whitson said. “I look forward to working with the talented and dedicated faculty, students and staff to continue the strong legacy of agricultural learning, research and application at Oklahoma State University.”

Prior to his current position, Whitson was department head and professor of the department of rangeland ecology and management at Texas A&M from May 1993 to August 2003. He oversaw the leading academic program for the study of rangeland ecosystems in the world. During this time he also was interim department head for the Texas A&M department of animal science from January 2002 to July 2002.

Oklahoma ’s Secretary of Agriculture and member of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, Terry Peach, commented about today’s announcement, “I am extremely pleased with the appointment, which is the product of an extensive national search. Whitson’s experience and background in agricultural sciences and research initiatives are very impressive.

“On a personal side, his ability to secure research funding, understanding of the importance of research and his front line scholarly work speak volumes about the caliber of person we’ve been able to hire for this critical position, not only at OSU but also for our state. I am looking forward to working with him as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Agriculture to serve the needs of our state, region and nation and strengthen Oklahoma’s agriculture industry,” Peach said.

Jay Helm, Chairman of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, said, “We’ve hired a first-rate administrator, faculty member, researcher and agriculture expert. His academic and business experience will be an asset. He is committed to the land-grant mission of teaching, research and extension-outreach, and he recognizes how important it is to our state and nation for OSU to be on the cutting edge in agriculture education, research and science.”

Before his most recent positions at Texas A&M, he spent 12 years at Frost National Bank in San Antonio. He started in 1981 as an assistant vice president, was named a vice president in 1982 and became senior vice president in September 1984.

Prior to his banking experience, Whitson was an associate professor in the departments of range science and agricultural economics at Texas A&M from September 1974 until November 1981.

Before going to Texas A&M, he was an area farm and ranch management specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service from March 1969 to September 1971.

Whitson earned his B.S. in range management from Texas Tech University, his M.S. in agricultural economics from Texas Tech and his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Texas A&M.

Whitson, a veteran of the U.S. Army, and his wife Linda have two children and five grandchildren.

Whitson becomes the 18th dean in the school’s history.

For information about this page, send e-mail to Gary Shutt.


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