New Endowed Faculty Positions Created in ISU College of Agriculture

November 9th, 2005

Over the next two years, five new endowed faculty positions will be filled in the Iowa State University College of Agriculture.

"Faculty members who hold endowed positions inspire students to take bold steps toward learning and discovery, and they uncover new avenues for research and scholarly investigation," said Wendy Wintersteen, interim dean of the College of Agriculture. "This provides the College with a total of 17 endowed positions to award to top-tier faculty who have considerable teaching and research credentials."

Two of the new positions are in the Department of Animal Science. The Jay Lush Endowed Chair in Animal Breeding and Genetics was established in 2004. Maynard Hogberg, chair of the animal science department, said a search committee has been appointed with plans to name someone to the position by July 2006.

"Jay Lush is considered the person who brought the science of animal breeding into the modern age here in our animal science department," Hogberg said. "He was one of the first to teach the importance of selective breeding. The person who fills this new professorship will further strengthen Iowa State's already excellent animal genetics breeding program."

Lush was a professor of animal science from 1930 to 1966, and one of Iowa State's nine members of the National Academy of Sciences. He was named a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in 1957.

Tom and Jean Sutherland, Fort Collins, Colo., took the lead in establishing the Jay Lush Endowed Professorship. Lush was Tom Sutherland's major professor during graduate school. Other former students, friends and family of Lush also have contributed to the endowment.

The Norman Jacobson Professorship in Dairy Science was established in 2005. Jacobson is a dairy nutrition physiologist. He earned both master's and doctorate degrees at Iowa State and joined the faculty in 1946. Jacobson was named a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in 1963. He served in the Graduate College, both as dean and associate provost for research. He retired in 1992 and remains on the faculty as an emeritus professor. Funding for this new position has come from his friends and former students.

"Having the opportunity to hire someone with strong experience and a national reputation in the area of dairy nutrition will be a real asset as we open the new dairy farm," Hogberg said.

Two of the new positions are in the Department of Agronomy and funded by the ISU Agronomy Endowment. The George Sprague Professorship in Agronomy was established in 2005. An appointment is expected in the spring.

The corn breeding program at Iowa State came to prominence under Sprague, considered one of the fathers of modern maize breeding. He was the first to conduct formal recurrent selection studies, designed to gradually increase the frequency of favorable genes. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sprague is credited with discovering hybrid corn, and his Iowa Stiff Stalk Synthetic (BSSS) is the germplasm foundation for many commercial corn hybrids. He was a member of the Iowa State agronomy faculty from 1939 to 1958.

Steven Fales, chair of the agronomy department, said the Sprague Professorship will allow the department to build on its strengths in plant breeding and genetics by attracting an established scientist to apply genomic data and related technological resources to the development of sustainable cropping systems.

"Our vision is that the holder of the Sprague Professorship will play a significant role in bringing the rapidly expanding knowledge about plant genomics to practical applications for Iowa farmers," Fales said.

The Kenneth Frey Professorship in Agronomy also was established in 2005 and an appointment is expected in the spring. Frey has been credited for his work on breeding methodology, developing disease resistance in plants and breaking the inverse relationship between yield and protein percentage of cereal grains. Much of his career has been spent improving oats, developing innovative ways to provide resistance to diseases.

Frey received his doctorate in crop breeding from Iowa State in 1948, and joined its agronomy faculty in 1953. Frey was named a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture in 1970. He retired in 1993 and remains on the faculty as an emeritus professor.

Fales said the Frey Professorship will help the department attract an established scholar to expand the breeding program by developing new traits in crops for the emerging bioeconomy.

The Robert Buchanan Distinguished Chair in Bacteriology was established in 2003 by a gift from the Buchanan estate. Buchanan spearheaded Iowa State's work in the area of bacteriological classification. He was the first head of the Bacteriology Department, serving from 1910 to 1948, the first dean of the Graduate College, serving from 1919 to 1948, and director of the Experiment Station, the broad-based agricultural research program, from 1933 to 1948.

The Buchanan Distinguished Chair is expected to be a part of the microbiology program in the College of Agriculture. An appointment will be made in 2006.

Contacts: 

Maynard Hogberg, Animal Science, (515) 294-2160, hogberg@iastate.edu
Steven Fales, Agronomy, (515) 294-7636, slf@iastate.edu
Susan Thompson, Communications Service, (515) 294-0705, sander@iastate.edu