Robert Easter named interim provost

An e-mail sent by Chancellor Richard Herman to University department administration and leaders has announced that Robert Easter, the dean of ACES, has been named interim provost at the University. Easter will replace Linda Katehi, who was named chancellor at the University of California-Davis about a month ago.

Easter’s appointment is pending approval by the Board of Trustees. If approved, Easter will assume his position effective Aug. 17, 2009. The e-mail says Easter and Ketehi will work together to “assure a smooth transition.”

In the e-mail, Herman writes:

“Dean Easter is an exceptional leader, highly respected among the faculty and peers across campus, the nation and around the world. He’s a long-serving dean whom I had the pleasure to appoint, and he has led the College of ACES with great skill, managing a variety of internal and external constituencies.”

Easter has served as the dean of ACES since July 2002. Before that, he was interim dean of the college from August 2001 until July 2002. Easter was the head of the Department of Animal Sciences from 1996 until 2001.

Easter did his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M;, where he received a degree in agricultural education. He also obtained a master’s degree in animal nutrition from Texas A&M; before completing his doctorate work in animal science at the University of Illinois in 1976. He then joined the University’s faculty in the animal science department upon graduation.

Easter’s work has been recognized nationwide. Former President George Bush appointed Easter to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development in 2006, and two years later Easter was named chairman of the board.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the University hopes to have completed its search for a permanent provost by January 2010.