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Brian Farkas will become the next dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, effective April 1.
Brian Farkas will become the next dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, effective April 1.

New dean at CANR

University of Delaware alumnus will lead the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Brian E. Farkas, an industry leader, researcher and professor in food science, has been appointed dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), University President Dennis Assanis and Provost Laura Carlson announced on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

“I am pleased to welcome Brian Farkas to UD as the next dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources,” Assanis said. “As an alumnus of our University, Brian is acutely aware of our mission, shared values and commitments to academic excellence, research and global impact. Throughout his career, he has led students and academic departments, conducted research and fostered innovation both in higher education and industry. His comprehensive and diverse experience will be a great asset to the administrative and academic leadership at UD.”

Farkas most recently served as chief science officer of McCormick & Company, a global manufacturer and distributor of spices, seasoning mixes and condiments. A 1985 graduate of UD with a bachelor of science in food science, Farkas will officially assume his new role on April 1.

Reporting directly to UD Provost Laura Carlson, Farkas will be a key member of the University’s senior administrative team, responsible for CANR’s leadership and the college’s development, operation and sustained excellence across four academic departments: animal and food sciences; applied economics and statistics; entomology and wildlife ecology; and plant and soil sciences.

“Brian is a strategic thinker who has fostered curricular and programmatic innovation in academia and addressed multidimensional global challenges in industry,” Carlson said. “He is well prepared to rejoin our UD community in this leadership capacity. I am confident in Brian’s ability to elevate the excellence of CANR’s academic reputation, the strength of its programs and the outcomes of our students — moving the college to new heights.”

Assanis and Carlson expressed gratitude to co-chairs Martin Heintzelman, department chair and professor of applied economics and statistics, and Michael Chajes, dean of the Honors College, as well as the members of the search advisory committee for their time, effort and commitment over recent months toward identifying CANR’s next leader.

Farkas’ appointment follows a national search for CANR’s new dean. Heintzelman will serve as acting dean until Farkas’ arrival in April. Calvin Keeler, professor of animal and food sciences and a member of the UD faculty since 1988, served as interim CANR dean from January 2021 through December 2023. A long time scholar, as the leader of the College, Keeler was committed to growing the research enterprise, fostering experiential learning and attracting a strong and diverse faculty.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be returning to my alma mater in a professional capacity as Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources,” Farkas said. “I know firsthand about the possibilities that a UD education can unlock, and I’m excited to lead and collaborate with stakeholders across the campus community and beyond to support the academic and professional goals of our students. The achievement and potential of CANR are both unique and inspiring, and I look forward to working closely with President Assanis, Provost Carlson, and the entire faculty and staff of the College to advance its mission of teaching, research and extension to elevate UD’s reputation as a land-grant institution.”

About Brian E. Farkas

A renowned food scientist, process engineer, teacher and researcher, Farkas brings to UD nearly three decades of professional experience across academic and corporate sectors. Most recently, and since March 2020, he served as chief science officer in McCormick & Company’s leadership team, leading the company’s global research and development organization, directing strategy and execution, and contributing to product and packaging development.

Prior to McCormick, he was department head and professor for nearly seven years at Purdue University’s Department of Food Science. His responsibilities as head included setting the vision and direction for the department and managing operations for its programs.

Farkas studied engineering at the University of California, Davis, where he obtained a Ph.D. and master’s degree. He received a bachelor’s of science degree in food science from the University of Delaware, minoring in microbiology.

Upon completing his doctoral studies, Farkas moved to North Carolina State University. There for nearly 19 years, he served as professor and, later, associate department head of the university’s Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. As the department’s distinguished undergraduate professor, and coordinator of its undergraduate food science program, he taught and conducted research on transport phenomena associated with food and beverage processing. This area studies the effect of heat, mass and momentum transfer on food safety and quality preservation, among other potential impacts.

Farkas’ research publications have accumulated more than 2,200 citations in peer work.

His areas of expertise include food process engineering and the thermodynamics of phase-change heat transfer associated with moving boundary problems.

About the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

The University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is dedicated to feeding the world and protecting the planet through research, education and outreach. Synonymous with our fellow land-grant universities, our never-ending mission is the generation, translation and dissemination of knowledge in the public interest — throughout Delaware, across the country and around the globe.

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