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Purdue Agriculture dean announces new entomology, botany and plant pathology department heads

Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, has appointed Catherine Hill head of the department of entomology, and Tesfaye Mengiste head of the department of botany and plant Pathology.

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“Dr. Hill and Dr. Mengiste bring extensive experience to these positions. They are both highly accomplished and internationally respected in their fields and also bring distinct leadership strengths to their departments. I look forward to working with them in their new roles,” said Plaut.

Hill, professor and formerly interim department head of entomology, earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Hill said she looks forward to working with the department and its many partners in training future leaders and conducting nation-leading research.

“Purdue entomology enjoys a proud history of serving the land-grant mission, having delivered excellence in discovery, learning and extension for our state and nation for more than 100 years,” Hill said. “Looking ahead, the department is unified around a shared vision to address some of society’s greatest challenges in the areas of global food security, the protection of agricultural production and human health and animal health, and the preservation of natural resources.”

tesfaye-mengiste.jpgMengiste, professor and formerly interim department head of botany and plant pathology, earned his bachelor’s degree in plant sciences from Haramaya University in Ethiopia, a master’s degree in plant biotechnology from the University of London, and a Ph.D. in plant molecular biology from the University of Basel in Switzerland. Mengiste said to be asked to lead one of the oldest, most vibrant departments in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, knowing its national and international impact, is a privilege.

“My role as a department head of this vibrant academic community is to promote excellence in all our mission areas; research, engagement and training of the next generation of plant science professionals; by creating a climate where everyone’s success is recognized,” Mengiste said. “I am here to support our faculty, staff and students and catalyze success.”

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