February 5, 1999 | By: Haven Miller

In 1968 Scott Smith entered Cornell University to be a biologist. But things didn't work out that way - he got interested in agriculture instead. Now, thirty-one years later, Smith is the new associate dean for research and associate director for the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station in the UK College of Agriculture. He replaces James Boling who recently was named vice chancellor for research, UK Lexington campus.

"My father was a county agent and Extension specialist in New York, but I didn't get interested in agriculture as a career until my mid-20s," Smith said. "At Cornell I was employed by John Duxsbury in his soil biochemistry lab, and I found out how interesting and fun soil science could be."

The public might not think of scientists having "fun" in their labs, but Smith said it's an important component of good research.

"The creativity, the laboratory work, the ability to work with plants, crops, or animals in the field - these are things that good researchers enjoy," said Smith.

Smith said he views his new position as one of advocacy.

"Advocacy means you're responsible for communicating information about the importance of agricultural research to people across the state, and providing support for the people who conduct the research," Smith said. "Advocacy also means recognizing excellent research when it occurs, and providing our faculty with the resources they need to be nationally-competitive."

In his new job, Smith will lead research activities through the Agricultural Experiment Station, and research efforts funded through grants, contracts and gifts. He'll also coordinate graduate programs in the College of Agriculture. He leaves his position as chair of the Department of Agronomy.

"Dr. Smith brings to the position a strong background of education and experience," said Oran Little, dean of the UK College of Agriculture. "He has an excellent track record as both a faculty member and a member of our administrative team."

Smith earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Cornell University, and his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. He joined UK in 1978 as an assistant professor of soil science.

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Contact: 

Writer: Haven Miller
(606) 257-3784

Source: Scott Smith
(606) 257-3333