From the Dean – Fall 2021

Dear alumni and friends,

Greetings from your ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences! Since our last issue of STORIES magazine in 2020, so much has happened and we are thrilled to report to you that the Cyclone family is well and thriving and striving for ever greater impact as we fulfill our purposes.

For everyone everywhere it’s been more than a year of living amid the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing the compelling nature of our collective responses to the disease. Now, as we return to some new-normal with COVID-19 hopefully in the rear-view mirror, we think of all that was lost and learned, and dedicate ourselves to always doing better.

The pandemic has challenged us to teach and learn differently, to redirect some of our research and sharpen its focus on problem-solving, and to double-down on our commitment to service. This issue of STORIES has “service” as its core theme – and that is on purpose, as we renew our determination to always make a positive difference and improve the landscapes and thought-scapes of our world. There is much to do.

This past year with the incredible generosity of so many, we surpassed the ISU Foundation’s nine-year fundraising goal of $1.5 billion, set back in 2012, with CALS donors contributing more than $240 million to that effort. These funds – some to be spent in the near-term, some in endowments for the long-term – are the margin of excellence for us. At the same time, we’ve had a record year of gaining research support from a wide variety of sources, totaling nearly $60 million! We also have seen new projects and facilities taking form:  the opening of the Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Facility, the groundbreaking for the turkey facility, the construction of the Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex, the new apiary yielding the sweetest honey, the renewed ISU Creamery churning out the very best ice cream, ISU’s new Student Innovation Center buzzing with activity, and so much more.

Among our terrific faculty and staff, it has also been a year of success and change. We have seen incredible people retire from the college and the hiring of a new generation of thinkers and doers to stand on their shoulders. Some of these changes you’ll read about in these pages. Every such change could use a full page to celebrate the people here who make such a difference!

Our students, as always, are remarkable and come to us brimming with possibilities, and, as graduates, leave here brimming with even more. We are so proud of them. After all, the success of any college is best measured by the success of its alums. CALS alums do amazing things, as we dedicate ourselves to help them achieve via the CALS Advantage – to know their disciplines and inter-disciplines like no others, to always be innovative and entrepreneurial in spirit and actions, to advocate for what they believe and the purposes and intents of the college, and to lead at every level.

Thinking of you, wanting to hear from you, and all the best on behalf of the college,

Daniel J. Robison

Endowed Dean’s Chair, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,