The California State University board of trustees appointed agriculture veteran Jeffrey Armstrong as Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo’s new president on Dec. 15, ending a year-long search process.
Armstrong is currently the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University, a position he’s held since 2001. He previously served as head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University from 1997 to 2001 and held various positions at North Carolina State University prior to that.
At Michigan State, he worked to increase minority student enrollment and faculty hiring and raised more than $200 million for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, according to a Cal Poly press release. As a professor, the West Kentucky native – who was raised on a cattle, swine and tobacco farm – focused his research on social responsibility in the food chain.
Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences is the second-largest at the school with almost 4,000 undergraduates, behind only its flagship engineering program, which has about 5,500 undergraduates.
“Dr. Armstrong’s outstanding academic credentials, leadership abilities and strong grounding in agriculture and science will be tremendous assets to the university and the community as it moves forward,” CSU Trustee Roberta Achtenberg, chair of the presidential search committee, said in a press release.
Armstrong serves as chair of the United Egg Producers Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and advises McDonald’s on animal welfare and broader issues related to corporate social responsibility, Cal Poly said.
“Cal Poly has an excellent reputation for preparing the knowledge leaders that help to drive California’s economy,” Armstrong said in the press release. “I am honored to join such an outstanding university and excited about engaging students, faculty and alumni to build on its strong foundation and create opportunities for the future.”
His appointment to the presidency concludes a year-long headhunting search that at one point had the CSU Trustees nixing all three former finalists for the presidential spot — starting the process anew.
Armstrong was part of a new group of finalists who visited the campus in November and met with the trustees for a final interview on Dec. 13.
He will assume the Cal Poly presidency starting Feb. 1, 2011 and succeeds interim President Robert Glidden, who took over from longtime President Warren Baker after Baker’s retirement.