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March 26, 2008

Purdue dean of agriculture named provost

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue President France A. Córdova on Wednesday (March 26) announced that William R. "Randy" Woodson, dean of Purdue Agriculture, will be the university's next provost, effective May 1.

Woodson, who has served as the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture since 2004, will succeed Victor L. Lechtenberg, who has been interim provost since July when Sally Mason left Purdue to become president of the University of Iowa.

"Randy Woodson is well respected internationally, as well as throughout our university," Córdova said. "He was selected from an outstanding national group of candidates to become our chief academic officer.  As a scholar, he has distinguished himself globally in the fields of plant science and horticulture. As an administrator, he is a proven leader with a strong vision and the ability to work productively with faculty, staff and students. I am thrilled that he has accepted my offer to lead the academic mission of the university."

Córdova  added, "I also am very appreciative of the work of our 23-member search advisory committee and its chair, Dr. Margaret Rowe. The committee identified an excellent group of candidates and brought forward three distinguished finalists."

As provost, Woodson will be responsible for oversight of all Purdue colleges and schools and related academic activities in coordination with the Office of the President. His office will oversee academic systems such as the libraries, computing center and student services (admissions, registrar, financial aid, health facilities), along with all Purdue cultural centers.

The provost's office also oversees issues of academic concern for the university's four regional campuses and the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service.

As the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, Woodson has served as the chief executive officer for the college, the Indiana Agricultural Experiment Station and the Extension. In addition, the dean oversees a number of regulatory services including the state Chemist Office, the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, the Indiana Wine-Grape Council and various marketing boards.

With a $150 million budget, the College of Agriculture includes 11 academic departments and two service departments with 315 faculty, 750 professional staff, 500 clerical and technical staff and 300 county educators. The National Science Foundation ranks Purdue Agriculture third in research expenditures in the agricultural sciences, which is the highest ranked field of science at Purdue.

Woodson said he is looking forward to this new chapter in his service to Purdue.

"This is a very exciting time in Purdue's history," Woodson said. "We have made important strides in our quest to be a supporting public research university, and I look forward to helping our students succeed, growing the research enterprise and enhancing Purdue's reputation as a globally engaged and locally responsive university."

Woodson joined the Purdue faculty in 1985 and became a professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in 1993. He was the director of the plant biology program from 1995-97. From 1996-98, Woodson also served as the head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

In 1998 he was named associate dean of agriculture and director of agricultural research programs and was responsible for overseeing the university's research programs in agriculture, including fiscal management and other responsibilities such as program development and direction, budgeting, pursuit of outside funding for research and advocacy for agricultural and natural resources research.

While the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, Woodson led the college's effort to hire more than 100 new faculty; partnered with the College of Science to launch the Climate Change Research Center; developed or enhanced a number of student success programs such as leadership development and study abroad; increased sponsored research from $41.6 million in 2003-04 to $67 million; hired more than 100 new county educators; and created the college's Office of Multicultural Programs.

A native of Arkansas, Woodson received a bachelor's degree in horticulture and chemistry from the University of Arkansas and a master's degree in horticulture and doctorate in horticulture/plant physiology from Cornell University. Prior to coming to Purdue, he was an assistant professor of horticulture at Louisiana State University.

Woodson's appointment will be subject to ratification by the board of trustees.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089,

Sources: France A. Córdova, (765) 494-9708,

William R. "Randy" Woodson, (765) 494-8392,

Margaret Rowe, (765) 496-2811,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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