October 18, 2000 | By: Aimee D. Heald, Matthew London

The University of Kentucky has announced four candidates who will vie for the College of Agriculture Dean position. All four will visit the Lexington campus in the upcoming weeks to interview and visit with faculty, staff and students.

The candidates are Jeffrey Dyer Armstrong, animal science department head and professor at Purdue University ; Donald C. Coston, associate director of the Oklahoma agriculture experiment station and professor of horticulture at Oklahoma State University; Colin Guy Scanes, associate director of Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Iowa's agricultural and home economics experiment station, and animal science professor at ISU; and M. Scott Smith, associate dean for research, associate director of the agricultural experiment station, and agronomy professor at the University of Kentucky.

"The four candidates all have very unique strengths," said Lori Garkovich, chair of the dean search and screening committee and professor in rural sociology at UK. "They are all qualified to lead the College of Agriculture. We looked at a substantial number of candidates and I believe we have chosen the four most impressive ones."

Armstrong said he has the utmost respect for UK.

"I want to help Kentucky agriculture and rural communities realize their potential," Armstrong, a Kentucky native, said. "Agriculture is a vibrant part of the economy and culture of Kentucky. We need to capitalize on our strengths and make the most of our top two resources – people and abundant resources. I want to help grow our people, our communities, and our economy."

Coston said he is intrigued by the challenges of working with faculty, students and staff and realizes the importance of that in Kentucky, since Ky. agriculture is in such transition.

"With the commitment to continue to improve, I believe the College will lead efforts throughout Kentucky for enhanced economic opportunities, community vitality, and family life," Coston said. "Student enrollment will grow, research programs will flourish and Extension efforts will increase. The funding base will expand and the College will be recognized both within the University and externally for the excellence of its programs and it will be viewed by the citizens of Kentucky as vital to their future."

Scanes believes he can build on the already positive reputation of the UK College of Agriculture.

"Agriculture is extremely important to the economy and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth. The College of Agriculture needs to continue to serve the people and be a part of the agricultural and rural communities," Scanes said. "I will continue to build upon the strength of the College in servicing the needs of the Commonwealth's people. I will also help faculty and staff achieve their aspirations so the College will be known as a true center of excellence for teaching, research and Extension."

Smith said he has developed a strong commitment and attachment to the College of Agriculture in his 22 years of service at UK.

"Over the last few years, I have had the good fortune to be involved with many aspects of our research, Extension and instruction missions, and feel well-prepared to assume the substantial and diverse responsibilities of the Dean of the College," Smith said. "I want to be certain that the College responds to the current transitions in Kentucky agriculture with leadership, energy and total commitment. Our mandated responsibilities in the tobacco settlement programs, as large as those are, will only be a fraction of what me must achieve to fulfill our duties as the Land Grant College."

Anyone who wishes to attend the candidate presentations and receptions is welcome. All presentations will be in Seay Auditorium in the Agricultural Science North Bldg. at 3:30 p.m. Smith will visit Oct. 23; Scanes, Oct. 26; Armstrong, Oct. 31; and Coston, Nov. 2.

C. Oran Little, retiring Dean of the UK College of Agriculture said he will meet with the candidates to answer questions and consult during the interviewing process. He hopes to share ideas and visions for Kentucky agriculture with the next dean.

"This is the best job in the country," he said. "With all the new things in agriculture, this is a great opportunity for the finalists."

The search committee will select the final candidate, who must be approved by Chancellor Elizabeth Zinser and UK President Charles Wethington before a presentation is made to the UK board of trustees. Garkovich said they hope to make a presentation at the Dec. 12 board meeting."

SIDEBAR – PLAN TO ATTEND SALUTE TO C. ORAN LITTLE "A reception and dinner is planned for Nov.28 at the Marriott Golden Gate Resort in Lexington, Ky. to Salute C. Oran Little. Little is the retiring dean of the UK College of Agriculture, director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

"Oran Little understands full well that you have to teach young people, you have to have an outstanding research program and then you have to take the results of that research out to the farm and apply it," said Randall Barnett, chairman of the Dean's Retirement Committee and retired associate dean of information systems. "Oran Little was a dean who was often time found out at a farm, observing that process and working with local groups out in the state asking what the college could do to serve them better. This salute is a great opportunity to honor Oran for his accomplishments at UK and his contributions to Kentucky agriculture."

The reception will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. If you would like to attend the Salute, you need to make a reservation. The cost is $25 per person. Make checks payable to "Salute to Dean Little," and mail them to the following address by Nov. 1, 2000: 131 Scovell Hall, College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky. 40546-0064.

Another way to honor Dean Little and his wife, Myrtle, is to contribute to the C. Oran Little Endowment Fund. The Little's established this endowment in the UK College of Agriculture in 1995 with their own funds. Earnings of the fund will be used to support the scholarly activities of faculty, staff and students in the college.

"The dean feels very strongly about the continuation of scholarly activities for the college," said Bill Sheets, director of Advancement for the UK College of Agriculture. "A lot of times the college just doesn't have enough money support high quality scholarly opportunities and that is what this fund is set up to do."

Craycraft said donations of all sizes are welcomed into the C. Oran Little Endowment Fund and are tax deductible. To contribute, please make checks payable to "Little Endowment Fund," and mail them to Agriculture Alumni and Development Office, Attn: C. Oran Little Endowment Fund, S-129 Agricultural Science Building, North, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., 40546-0064.


Lori Garkovich 859-257-7581