Colorado State University Names New Leader for Department of Animal Sciences

Kevin R. Pond, an expert in beef-cattle nutrition and 15-year chair of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University, will join Colorado State University Aug. 15 as new head of the Department of Animal Sciences.

Pond, who helps run a fifth-generation family cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle, brings experience in teaching, research and administration at three other public research universities to the largest department in CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Pond has accepted my offer to become head of the Department of Animal Sciences. His career and leadership experiences fit hand-in-glove with the department’s long-standing expertise, our work to prepare agricultural leaders, and our focus on science with a purpose,” Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, said.

“Dr. Pond has demonstrated his ability to connect teaching, research and outreach activities with critical constituents, including industry partners, and this will be vital to our ongoing success,” Beyrouty said.

The Department of Animal Sciences, with about 20 tenure and tenure-track faculty members, has nearly 800 students; these students are about equally split between studies in food-animal sciences and equine sciences.

“I’m very much looking forward to being at CSU because I think I have the background and skills to move the department where everyone wants it to go,” said Pond, who was born in Denver and whose father and three children all have focused their careers and academic studies on animal sciences.

Pond will replace William R. Wailes, who has led the department for about nine years and will transition to a new role focusing on fund-raising for a major renovation of the CSU Animal Sciences Building. Earlier this year, Wailes was inducted into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, an honor akin to a lifetime-achievement award that recognizes statewide contributions to agriculture.

Wailes built a 30-year career at CSU, including several years as an extension dairy specialist, and also was honored with the 2008 Top Choice Award from the Colorado Livestock Association. He said his new role is important because cutting-edge facilities will help the Department of Animal Sciences maintain its competitive advantage in teaching and research.

The department’s expertise in livestock production has evolved to comprise areas in which CSU is recognized as an international leader, including livestock behavior, humane production practices, beef cattle genetics, and food safety and quality. It is home to the Center for Meat Safety and Quality, one of the CSU’s vaunted Programs of Scholarly Excellence; two University Distinguished Professors work in the Department of Animal Sciences.

The department has established a focus area on developing profitable and environmentally sound beef and dairy production systems, Beyrouty noted. This focus area is designed to train graduates for modern challenges – and to set the stage for high-impact programs that support Colorado’s robust agricultural economy and while seeking solutions for complex global concerns. These include providing food for a booming human population.

The CSU Department of Animal Sciences also is home to a renowned Equine Sciences Program, now in its 25th year and the first of its kind in the nation to offer a four-year degree in equine sciences. The program is a department icon.

“Profitable and environmentally sound production is paramount to the success of the livestock industry,” Pond said. “Those of us in animal agriculture need to be in a position where what we’re doing is transparent and understood by both industry participants and consumers because we share an interest in improved human health and well-being.

“We are fortunate to work and educate students in Colorado, which provides a great example of how our growing urban population interacts with the very important rural base that’s supplying our food.”

Pond, a member of the American Society of Animal Science and a decorated professor, began his career as a ruminant nutritionist with a focus on beef cattle; his multidisciplinary research projects took Pond to Southeast Asia, South America and North Africa. Pond has published two books and dozens of refereed articles in scientific journals.

He has taught and conducted research at Texas A & M University, North Carolina State University and Texas Tech University, where he was a professor and chair of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences for 15 years.

During his time leading the department at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Pond oversaw significant gains in student enrollment, faculty size, research funding and new facilities – including a new building for Animal and Food Sciences. Such strides largely depend on strategic partnerships and alliances, Pond said.

“One important advantage that CSU has in building partnerships is that CSU is the major agricultural university in the state,” he said. “The agricultural industry in Colorado is huge, and state agricultural leaders are leaders in the nation as well. Our industry partners are strong constituents for the university and need to be involved in plans for where we’re going.”

Pond, who has visited several times with CSU faculty and staff, said he looks forward to building a common vision for department advancement, and jointly setting a culture of excellence and high expectations, tied to quantifiable goals.

“You need to know where you’re going, and everyone needs to be on the same page,” he said.

Pond earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in animal nutrition from Texas A&M University.

His wife, Janice Pond, will be working in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office in Denver.