From the Dean — September 2015

Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean

Dear Colleagues,

Among the many field days in Virginia is the Ag Expo, which is the state’s largest annual field day and took place this year on Aug. 6 at Brooke Farms in Locust Grove, Virginia. CALS was well-represented at this year’s event. The research and Extension presentations by many faculty and staff members were well-received by several hundred attendees at the event. More than 150 exhibitors and sponsors showcased the latest equipment, technology, goods, and services.

A popular event organized by Jamie Lucero and the CALS Alumni Organization has been our CALS Alumni and Friends Event the evening before the opening of the Ag Expo. This year we gathered at Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery in Leon, Virginia. Our keynote speaker was Kang Xia, associate professor of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, who challenged us about opportunities to preserve water quality and quantity. More than 80 alumni and friends attended.

For those who attended the opening of the new Dairy Science Complex on July 17, we can report that the cows are now in their new home. Numerous individuals have contributed to the successful completion of Phase 1 of the dairy relocation. Shane Brannock (dairy farm superintendent), along with Dwight Paulette (college farm coordinator), and their farm crews, were essential and played significant roles in the entire relocation process. We owe a great deal of thanks to these folks for their hard work and dedication to this project which now allows our faculty and students access to state-of-the-art facilities. Planning and design for Phase 2 of the project is well underway and will include the addition of an intensive metabolism research building, an applied reproduction facility, and an education and research facility.

The campus was transformed recently with the arrival of many new and returning students for the start of another academic year. Thanks to everyone who has welcomed our students and are helping them transition successfully to campus life. Faculty and staff will have more opportunity to meet new students at the CALS Club/Organization Night on the Ag Quad on Sept. 16 from 4-7 p.m. I hope many of you can attend to meet the students and to show support for their clubs and organizations.

I am delighted that Glenda Gillaspy has accepted our offer to serve as the head of the Department of Biochemistry. Her appointment will become effective on Sept. 25. Many thanks for Peter Kennelly’s leadership and service as the head of the department for the past 10 years.

Boris Vinatzer has agreed to take on the role as interim department head for PPWS, beginning Oct. 1. We also thank Beth Grabau for serving as head and for providing leadership to the department.

Mark your calendars for the annual Fall Fest Homecoming Celebration that begins four hours before the Virginia Tech/Ohio State game kickoff on Sept. 7. Join our CALS Alumni Organization at the entrance to Litton-Reaves Hall for a tailgate buffet, live music, a guest appearance by the HokieBird, and games and activities for all ages. RSVP is required.

I hope many can tune into the Fall Deans’ Forum scheduled for Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. in Fralin Auditorium. The agenda will include various college updates and progress on the development of the new School of Plant and Environmental Sciences in CALS.

I look forward to working with all of you during this exciting time in our college’s history.


Alan Grant

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