Vice Provost for Agriculture, Outreach to Retire; Ag Experiment Station Director Named to Interim Post

Note to Editors: an online photo of Kirvin Knox is available; call Dave Weymiller at (970) 491-6851.

Kirvin Knox, a longtime leader in Colorado’s agricultural community, will retire at the end of 2000 after nearly a decade heading agricultural education and outreach efforts at Colorado State University.

Knox, a Colorado State graduate, will step down as vice provost for agriculture and outreach and dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. During his remaining tenure at the university, Knox will continue to serve as vice provost and will focus on a major university-wide initiative aimed at improving outreach to the citizens of the state–a top university priority.

Lee Sommers, director of Colorado State’s Agricultural Experiment Station, will serve as interim dean of the college. University officials will launch an immediate search to fill the dean’s position permanently and will evaluate how to fill the vice provost position at the end of the year.

"Kirvin Knox has provided innovative leadership to the university’s outreach programs, and he has served a vital role in the agricultural community of the state," said Colorado State President Albert C. Yates. "Our university, our state’s agricultural industry and the state as a whole have benefited from Kirvin’s influence. He brought scholarship, administrative skills and vision to Colorado State that helped us meet our obligations and goals as the state’s land-grant university."

Loren Crabtree, provost at Colorado State, said Knox is appropriate to lead the outreach task force because he brings a clear understanding of the needs of the state and the university’s ability to meet those needs.

"Kirvin has led our outreach efforts through a decade that saw tremendous change," Crabtree said. "Our outreach efforts rightly centered on such services as providing safe and reliable food supplies, improving production, protecting the environment through the application of new technologies and on providing advice on the management of small-acreage farms and ranches. His ability to anticipate and meet technological changes during this period have served Colorado and Colorado State well."

A native of Oklahoma, Knox, 63, taught at Colorado State from 1964-1972, reaching the rank of full professor and serving as director of the Metabolic Research Laboratory. He left Colorado to become professor and department head in nutrition, and later dean and director of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at the University of Connecticut before rejoining Colorado State.

Knox earned a master’s degree in nutrition from Colorado State in 1960 after graduating from California State University in Fresno and went on to take a doctorate in nutrition from the University of California-Davis.

He has received numerous honors for his work, is a member of a variety of professional organizations and has published widely in scientific journals on metabolism and nutrition. At Colorado State, he has served as the university’s primary spokesman for agriculture, and has overseen the college as well as Cooperative Extension since 1992.

Sommers has served as director of the university’s Agricultural Experiment Station since 1996. Before his appointment, he served as head of the department of agronomy from 1985 – 1996. Prior to joining Colorado State University in 1985, he was a professor in the department of agronomy at Purdue University, where he taught soil science courses and conducted research on waste management and soil and water quality problems. Sommers also worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative States Research, Education and Extension Service, where he assisted in university department and research program reviews. He was elected President of the Soil Science Society of America in 1998 and served on the Executive Committees of the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy from 1997 to 1999. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in soil science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.