Dr. Mark A. Hussey, a plant scientist with a 25-year career in agriculture at Texas A&M University, has been chosen by the A&M System Board of Regents to become the next vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences. The regents, meeting by telephone on Thursday, voted unanimously for his selection. Hussey succeeds Dr. Elsa Murano, who became president of Texas A&M in January 2008. Since then, Hussey has held the position in an interim capacity.
"Mark Hussey has been doing a stand-out job for (Texas A&M) AgriLife, and I am delighted that today's action recognizes his strengths and achievements," said Dr. Michael D. McKinney, chancellor of The Texas A&M System. "This appointment provides us the leadership that will guide the College and the rest of our agriculture programs through the challenging times ahead. I've enjoyed working with Mark very much and look forward to gaining the most from his enthusiasm and ideas as both AgriLife and the A&M System move forward."
"We are obviously pleased with this appointment," Murano said. "I am confident that Dr. Hussey will effectively build on the strengths of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, providing the leadership that will further enhance its renowned reputation for excellence in teaching, research and service at the state, national and international levels."
As the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Hussey will lead one of the largest agricultural schools in the country. With an enrollment of nearly 6,700 students in 14 academic departments, the college offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Its faculty of nearly 400 includes two Nobel laureates.
In his role as vice chancellor with the A&M System, Hussey will oversee Texas AgriLife Research, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Forest Service and Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. When combined with the
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M AgriLife comprises one of the largest and most diverse such organizations in the country. "I am humbled by the confidence and trust that has been placed in me with this decision," Hussey said. "I will do my utmost to support our faculty, staff, students and former students whose efforts make such a significant impact on our state, nation, and world." During his year as interim vice chancellor and dean, Hussey led the implementation of a marketing and re-branding strategy to support the teaching, research, extension and service missions of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M AgriLife. He also conducted statewide listening sessions with Texas Forest Service employees and stakeholders and restructured the communications and information technology functions to bring them under the vice chancellor's office.
Hussey currently serves as the director of Texas AgriLife Research. Since becoming agency director in 2007, he has developed a corporate relations team that has established new research contracts valued at more than $15 million.
Before he became associate director of AgriLife Research in 2005, Hussey served for four years as head of Texas A&M's department of soil and crop sciences. His career began as a forage breeder at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco in 1983. Hussey became assistant professor in soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M in 1985 and was promoted to professor in 1997.
He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois. Hussey has both a master's degree and doctorate in plant breeding from Texas A&M.
About the A&M System The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.04 billion. Through a statewide network of nine universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates 109,000 students and makes more than 15 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research brings in almost $627 million every year and helps drive the state's economy.