May 20, 2010

Kathryn Boor named dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Kathryn Boor

Kathryn J. Boor, professor and chair of the Department of Food Science at Cornell, has been named the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs announced today. She will begin her five-year term as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) July 1.

"Kathryn Boor's history of scholarship and leadership in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and her strong affinity for the broad range of educational, research and outreach activities within her college make her an excellent choice for dean," said Cornell President David Skorton.

"Kathryn is a leader who can bridge the diverse intellectual streams within CALS, as well as relate to all the constituents of the college," said Fuchs. "She is genuinely focused on the role of the academy in serving the public interest."

Cornell, as New York's land-grant university, is unique in pursuing its land-grant mission within an Ivy League setting. CALS is known globally for its educational, research and extension programs and for developing the knowledge, technology and human capacity to address some of the most challenging issues facing society in the areas of the environment, food and energy systems, and community and economic development.

"I am deeply honored to have been selected as dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at this challenging and exciting time in the history of our university," said Boor. "I look forward to working closely with President Skorton, Provost Fuchs, the deans and CALS faculty to promote excellence in teaching, research and outreach at Cornell through 2015 and beyond."

As the chief academic and administrative officer for CALS, Boor will have the primary responsibility for developing and implementing the strategic direction of the college, which has about 370 faculty, 500 non-professorial academics, 140 postdoctoral associates, 1,300 staff and more than 3,300 undergraduate and 900 graduate students. In addition, she will share responsibility for leadership and advancement of Cornell Cooperative Extension throughout New York state with the dean of Cornell's College of Human Ecology. As dean, she will report to the provost and be a member Cornell's senior administration team, working closely with other deans and executive officers on behalf of the university.

Boor earned her B.S. in food science from Cornell (1980), her M.S. in food science from the University of Wisconsin (1983) and her Ph.D. in microbiology (1994) from University of California-Davis. She joined Cornell in 1994 and promptly established the Food Safety Laboratory. She is the director of Cornell's Milk Quality Improvement Program and serves as the secretary and scientific adviser of the New York State Cheese Manufacturers' Association. She also is a past president of the New York State Association for Food Protection and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Food Protection and Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Her research focuses on identifying and characterizing mechanisms that allow pathogenic and spoilage organisms to persist in foods and cause disease in humans. Her research accomplishments in tracking bacterial contaminants in food processing systems also have been used to generate focused educational opportunities for the dairy industry.

Fuchs also recognized outgoing dean Susan Henry, who will step down June 30, for the positive impact her strong leadership of CALS has had on the university. "Susan has been an extraordinarily effective dean during her decade of service at Cornell," Fuchs said.