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DAA: Caula A. Beyl

Caula Beyl

Caula A. Beyl


Knoxville, TN


As a “military brat” whose family moved eighteen times in sixteen years, Caula Beyl particularly appreciated life’s anchors: Her mother, who re-made curtains for every new house and painted the walls green; and her father, who faithfully planted his favorite Cockscomb and marigolds in every yard. The bright blooms also inspired Beyl’s early interest in horticulture. Like those irrepressible plants, she thrives in different settings and multiple pursuits — as researcher, teacher, and administrator. “If you take everything a step at a time, with confidence, you can accomplish much more than you think,” Beyl says. Her steady strides began as a Purdue University horticulture graduate student, where she embraced the relatively new research area of mechanical stress physiology of plants. Beyl transplanted herself south, joining Alabama A&M University as a post-doctoral researcher. Throughout her 27-year tenure at the University — which spanned positions from assistant professor in horticulture to interim dean in the Office of Graduate Studies — Beyl amassed an impressive research record in plant science, including space horticulture for human life support in microgravity environments and in vitro propagation. While at Alabama A&M, Beyl was credited with developing and teaching sixteen undergraduate, graduate, professional, and community courses. Since June 2007, she’s flourished in a position that combines people and plants. As the first female Dean of the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources at the University of Tennessee, Beyl ranks among only a handful of women in such leadership positions within the land-grant system. Roots remain part of her story, too. She recently painted the office walls in her Tennessee home a well-remembered shade of green. “Being a graduate of Purdue University opens many doors of opportunity. It is the outstanding education that I received at Purdue that has kept those doors open and allowed me to walk through with confidence.” “Being a graduate of Purdue University opens many doors of opportunity. It is the outstanding education that I received at Purdue that has kept those doors open and allowed me to walk through with confidence.”