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Calvin Keeler, who has just been appointed interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was one of the featured speakers at a campus panel discussion on COVID-19 earlier this year.

New interim dean appointed

Photo by Evan Krape

Calvin Keeler named interim dean of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Calvin Keeler, professor of animal and food sciences and a member of the University of Delaware faculty since 1988, has been named interim dean of the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UD President Dennis Assanis and Provost Robin Morgan announced today. His appointment is effective Jan. 1.

He will replace Dean Mark Rieger, who has accepted a position as executive vice president and provost at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“Calvin is a servant leader with a deep commitment to education, research and wellbeing of our community,” Assanis said. “He brings a vast knowledge of UD and a wide range of administrative experience to this post. We are grateful to him for taking on this important assignment.”

“I have worked with Calvin since he came to UD, and I know he will be a great partner as we shepherd the college through this transition over the next 12 to 18 months,” Morgan said. “His commitment to teaching, research and outreach are well-known, and he will serve the college well in this role.”

Keeler holds joint appointments in UD’s departments of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and of Biological Sciences, and he is the director of the Avian Biosciences Center at the University. He is also affiliated with the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and UD’s Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

“It is an honor and privilege to have been asked to serve the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as interim dean,” Keeler said. “Mark Rieger has been an outstanding leader of the college, as evidenced by the enormous efforts and contributions of our staff, professionals, and faculty during the current COVID crisis. Their commitment and dedication to the teaching, research and outreach missions of the college and University is evident every day. I look forward to working together with the college and the University administration to enhance interactions with our students and with our government, corporate and academic partners.”

Keeler’s research and outreach activities focus on avian genomics and molecular immunology and respiratory viruses of poultry and birds.

He coordinates the avian disease diagnostic activities at the University on the Newark and Georgetown campuses, and he works closely with the agricultural sector and government agencies in the state of Delaware and the Delmarva region. He also works with organizations and government agencies nationally in the areas of avian and poultry health.

During his tenure at UD, Keeler has served in a number of administrative roles at the department, college and University level, and has been active in a number of professional organizations, including the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Virology, the Poultry Science Association, the American Association of Avian Pathologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Keeler holds three patents and is the author of more than 40 articles in refereed professional journals. His research has been funded by more than 35 grants totaling more than $2.5 million from a variety of agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. and the University of Delaware Research Foundation. 

A graduate of Tufts University, he earned his master’s degree in microbiology from the Medical College of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University and his doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Before coming to UD, Keeler was a visiting scientist at E.I. du Pont de Nemours and before that a senior scientist and co-founder of IGENE Inc., a biotechnology firm located in Columbia, Maryland.

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