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Killefer named dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences

John Killefer

John Killefer, professor and department head of animal and rangeland sciences at Oregon State University, has been named the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University. Killefer was selected following a national search.

“Dr. Killefer’s leadership style and professional experiences separated him during this process as attributes that will have a tremendous impact on the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He articulated the type of vision that will allow the college to continue to excel and move into the future in a way that will allow students, faculty and staff to have a greater impact on the state, the region and the world. We are excited to have John become our next dean.”

Killefer has served in his current role since 2012. During that time, he successfully merged the departments of animal sciences and rangeland, ecology and management to form the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences. Killefer also completed construction on three facilities and numerous renovations to other facilities. He established approximately $3.5 million in endowments to support teaching and research, in addition to support for livestock farms and educational opportunities in cattle production.

“I am honored to join such an incredible community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and stakeholders that make up the South Dakota State University family. The College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences embodies the land-grant mission dedicated to exceptional education, research and outreach efforts that are accessible to all. Strong support from alumni, commodity organizations, members of the South Dakota Legislature and stakeholders from across the entire state and region is evident. I am excited to build upon the outstanding foundation that has been established and I am eager to develop relationships with our alumni, state and industry organizations, stakeholders, colleagues, students and other supporters as we move the college forward.”

An accomplished researcher, Killefer’s programs have secured more than $6.3 million from both federal and industry sources where his research focused on high-quality production animals and meat products. Killefer was inducted into the Oregon Beef Council Hall of Fame in 2014 and served as a fellow from 2013-15 for the Food Systems Leadership Institute, a national organization dedicated to developing individual and institutional leadership for a 21st century food system.

Killefer went to OSU in 2011 after nearly 10 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was an associate professor and later professor. He was an assistant professor and associate professor at West Virginia from 1994-2002. Killefer earned his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Hastings College in Nebraska. He earned his Ph.D. in animal science with an emphasis in growth and development at Oregon State.

Killefer will begin his duties in late March.