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New dean of CFAES would be first woman to fill position

Cathann Arceneaux Kress would be the first woman to be dean of the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Credit: Courtesy of Cathann Arceneaux Kress

If approved by the Ohio State Board of Trustees next week, Cathann Kress would be the next vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Kress, the current vice president for extension and outreach, and director of cooperative education at Iowa State University, is the first woman to hold the top position at CFAES.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to engage with the students, to learn more about ways the college can continue to meet their needs, and to help them prepare for their future,” she said.  

Kress will be responsible for steering the college’s missions in education, research, outreach and service and will head its fundraising efforts. She also will be the chief academic and administrative officer and will facilitate strategic internal and external relationships of the college.

“I think of it as an intersection for agriculture, education and communities, that all kind of come together, and the portfolio for this position really focuses across the whole sector that I have worked in and cared about throughout my career,” Kress said. “Besides that, the faculty, the staff, the volunteers, they’re an incredibly talented bunch that will make, I believe, great colleagues to work with. Then the students, the alumni, the base’s support and the interest in the program is also very high level.”

Prior to her current leadership role, Kress served as a senior policy analyst for the Military Community and Family Policy program at the Department of Defense. Additionally, she was the director of youth development at the National 4-H Headquarters for the Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, and was the assistant director of Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension and State Program leader for 4-H Youth Development.

“She has a really remarkable history of leadership experience,” said College of Optometry Dean Karla Zadnik, who led the search. “We were just wowed by her leadership — both ability as well as her leadership experience in a variety of organizations.”

Kress earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at Iowa State University, and a master’s degree in counselor education/college student development and a doctorate in education at University of Iowa.

She is set to begin at OSU May 1.


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