Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy appointed as new Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Director of Oregon Agricultural Experiment




4-24-09

OSU Names Purdue Leader as Dean of Agricultural
Sciences

By Mark
Floyd, 541-737-0788
Source:
Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111

Sonny RamaswamyCORVALLIS,
Ore. - Sonny Ramaswamy, an agricultural leader from Purdue University, has been
named dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University.
He also will direct the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, which is based
at OSU.

Ramaswamy
succeeds long-time OSU dean Thayne Dutson, who retired from the position in
2008. William Boggess has been serving as interim dean.

For the
past three years, Ramaswamy has been associate dean of Purdue's College of
Agriculture and directed the university's agricultural research programs. He
brings to OSU extensive experience in different agricultural settings, including
Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Michigan and India.

An
entomologist, Ramaswamy has studied the reproductive biology of insects and
plant-insect interactions, conducting applied research on insect pests
affecting wheat, cotton, beans, other row crops and trees.

His breadth
of experience will help Ramaswamy connect OSU's agricultural programs with
Oregon's agricultural industry, which last year posted record sales of $4.9
billion. The overall economic activity involving Oregon agriculture is
estimated at $25 billion annually with important sectors including cattle,
dairy, nursery crops, fruits and berries, wheat, grass seed and others.

"Agriculture
is a critical component of the Oregon economy and bringing in a respected
leader like Sonny Ramaswamy will strengthen the relationship between our
College of Agricultural Sciences and its many constituents," said Sabah
Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. "His work in research and
outreach will be particularly valuable as the state continues to expand its
agricultural activities."

At Purdue,
Ramaswamy supervised coordination of the university's research programs in
agriculture, food and natural resources - both on campus and at eight regional
research centers and several research farms. He will find a similar challenge
at Oregon State, where he will direct the Agricultural Experiment Station as
well as serve as dean of the college.

OSU's
agricultural programs are an $85 million-a-year enterprise that includes:

  • 15 academic departments
    that offer teaching and research to support the agricultural and natural
    resource needs of Oregon and beyond;
  • An Agricultural
    Experiment Station that includes 11 branch stations at 13 locations
    throughout the state;
  • 1,600 students and
    numerous programs offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees;

"The
college is quite diverse in its programs, faculty, revenue streams and the
constituents it serves," Randhawa pointed out. "It also has excellence in areas
that the casual observer may not associate with agricultural sciences. OSU is
ranked first nationally in conservation biology, for example, and the
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife within the college is one of the key
reasons for that ranking."

Randhawa
said the college blends strengths in production agriculture with expertise in
numerous other areas, including biodiversity and environmental quality,
nutrition and food systems, water resource management, biofuels and other
energy sources, and genetics and economically viable technologies, as well as
the social impacts of related activities.

Prior to
joining the Purdue faculty in 2006, Ramaswamy was head of the Department of
Entomology at Kansas State University (1997-2004), where he held the title of
distinguished professor. He also was on the faculty of Mississippi State
University, and was a research associate at Michigan State University. He began
his academic career as a research assistant at the University of Agricultural
Sciences in Bangalore, India, where he earned his bachelor's and master's
degrees, and at Rutgers University, where he received his Ph.D. All of his
degrees are in entomology.

Ramaswamy
is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the
Entomological Society of America.

He will
begin his new duties on Aug. 1.


About the
OSU College of Agricultural Sciences:

The college contributes in many ways to the economic and environmental
sustainability of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The college's faculty are
leaders in agriculture and food systems, natural resources management, life
sciences and rural economic development research.