First Impressions

Since Sept. 15, my first day  on the job as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, I have been in learning mode – learning about the reach and breadth of this great College and getting to know the people who carry out its research, teaching and extension missions, as well as the beneficiaries of its work. They share a passion and commitment for the vital role the College and N.C. State University continue to play in lives of North Carolina’s citizens.

Since that first day’s experience at CALS Tailgate 2012, my listening and learning itinerary has taken me across the state, from the mountains to the piedmont to the coastal plain and the coast itself and back again to the heart of the Triangle. I’ve now seen firsthand how the College reaches into all areas of the state.

I’ve been impressed by the state’s diversity of agriculture and life sciences and the roles CALS research has played in enabling that diversity. I’m keenly aware of our essential role in educating and graduating tomorrow’s agricultural and life scientists, agribusiness leaders and agriculture professionals – those who can change the world through efforts addressing food security, biotechnology, sustainability, environmental impacts of agriculture, water quality and human health. And I’ve encountered in our Cooperative Extension Service a network of connections, a culture of responsiveness and a tradition of impacts unparalleled at any other university I know.

Another rich source of information about the College and its work for me has been Perspectives. The CALS magazine regularly showcases and exemplifies those research, teaching and Extension efforts, along with news about outstanding faculty, students, alumni and giving. This Winter 2013 issue is a great example.

Within our Features is an opportunity to get to know Bill and Marsha Prestage of Prestage Farms Inc., whose recent $10 million gift endowed and renamed our Poultry Science Department as the Prestage Family Department of Poultry Science. They talk about what motivated their gift that will fund teaching, research and Extension programs, as well as establish a professorship in turkey physiology, nutrition and immunology.

We also show you around a unique and immensely valuable resource in our Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. It’s the BAE Research Shop, a full-service 7,500-square-foot facility that provides machining, fabrication and assembly of functional items — everything from laboratory apparatuses to tobacco balers — requested (and often newly imagined) by faculty members, staff and graduate students for their lab or field work and research.

Our Features also spotlight student Becky Dobosy, a nutrition major who is already working to address global hunger issues, while our College Profile highlights the 36-year Extension career of Sharon Rowland.

Our News section includes reports of students traveling to Costa Rica as Global Plant Health Interns and a roundup of our latest International Programs activities; tomato breeding and woodland crops research; a new grant for salmonella research; an update on our Agroecology Education unit; and an interview with a national award-winning pre-vet student.

And we have an array of outstanding CALS graduates profiled in our Alumni section, along with many new endowments announced in Giving.

These stories illustrate what I’ve been learning the past few months: the passion and engagement at the heart of a College with both an extensive reach and grasp.

— Richard Linton
Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Keep up with CALS strategic planning: Go to

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