Prof. Kathryn Boor, food science, will serve as dean of the Graduate School after serving as CALS dean for 10 years.

June 8, 2020

Kathryn Boor ’80 to Depart CALS Deanship, Appointed Graduate School Dean, Vice Provost

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Prof. Kathryn Boor ’80, food science, the current dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will serve as the Graduate School dean and vice provost for graduate education, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced on Monday afternoon.

“Dean Kathryn Boor embodies the Cornell ethos of pursuing discovery for a public purpose, and she has had a stellar track record leading the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for the past decade,” Kotlikoff said in a University press release, highlighting her “dedication to supporting faculty” and “providing opportunities for students as the next generation of global citizens.”

Boor will succeed Prof. Barbara Knuth, who has held the position since 2010. Appointed to a five-year term, Boor will take over the role once CALS’ replacement dean is officially announced.

The University has previously faced struggles in finding Boor’s successor, whose term was set to end by July 1. In September 2019, CALS launched its sixth search for a new dean in just two years, The Sun reported, a process that has so far failed to produce a publicly announced candidate.

With over 4,800 students, the Graduate School is one of Cornell’s largest academic divisions, offering 18 distinct degrees across nearly 100 fields of study. In her new position, Boor said she plans to prioritize expanding funding and training grants for graduate students.

“[My] overarching goal is to provide an environment that creates opportunities to prepare our students for leadership roles in their chosen disciplines,” Boor said in the press release. She will report directly to Kotlikoff alongside Cornell’s 11 other academic deans.

Boor has been the head of Cornell’s second largest college for the last decade, directing the hiring of at least 130 tenured faculty, the renovation of Stocking Hall and launching a new Global Development Department, which expanded the scope of CALS’ international studies.

According to the University, Boor also enhanced the college’s “support for faculty grant proposal preparation,” allowing CALS to spend more on research than any other Ithaca-based Cornell unit in the past four years.

During her tenure, the number of applications to CALS significantly increased, leading its acceptance rate to fall from 21.7 percent in 2010 to 11.4 percent last year. The college is routinely ranked among the United States’ top institutions for agriculture, plant and animal sciences.

Boor was hired by Cornell as an assistant professor of food science in 1994, before leading the department from 2007 to 2010. Her research focuses on identifying routes of bacterial transmission in food and agriculture supply chains.

For her work in the agricultural field, she was honored as a “Woman of Distinction” by the New York State Senate in 2018.

“She grew up on a Southern Tier dairy farm and you cannot find a stronger advocate for our dairy farmers and the dairy industry overall,” said State Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-N.Y.) on why he nominated her for the award. “Her tenure as the dean of one of the world’s foremost agricultural universities has produced landmark achievements in education, food safety, public awareness and cutting-edge research.”