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Faculty Renewal Gift Boosts Cornell Dairy Programme

30 December 2011

US - A gift from an alumnus will allow Cornell University to remain a critical partner and resource for the $3 billion New York dairy industry.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has received a generous commitment from Ron '68 and Marcia St. John to name the St. John Family Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellowship. The gift will support a faculty position in dairy cattle management in the Department of Animal Science, in anticipation of the retirement of Professor Dave Galton.

It is one of several positions within the department that the college hopes to fill within the next two years, as part of a universitywide Faculty Renewal campaign to address an unprecedented number of impending retirements.

The Department of Animal Science in particular has lost 14 senior members of faculty since 2005. Although several positions have been refilled, the remaining losses have markedly limited the capacity for delivering departmental programming.

"This gift comes at a critical time for our programme," said department chair W. Ron Butler. "Our dairy management group trains the future leaders of the dairy industry in New York and across the country. The St. John family's gift will ensure our continued success by maintaining continuity and a strong dairy faculty presence in the coming years."

Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said 10 searches are currently under way across the college, with an additional nine recently approved by administrators.

Many of the positions span departments, in line with the college's goal of combining excellence in individual disciplines with some of the most innovative interdisciplinary work in the world.

"From emerging stars to distinguished senior faculty at other universities, we hope to attract faculty dedicated to serving the public good. Gifts like this allow us to fulfill our vision of creating knowledge with a public purpose," Ms Boor said.

Ron St. John built his father's Oakfield, N.Y., dairy farm into one of the state's largest before moving to Florida in 1986. He now owns about 17,000 milk cows, while farming 11,820 acres on five farms in Florida and Georgia. Mr St. John was recently recognised for his innovative dairy practices with the title Florida Farmer of the Year as part of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year programme.

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