Most folks weren’t surprised when news broke in December that Richard Linton, dean of North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, would become the 15th president of Kansas State University on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. Talk was that Linton was bound to become a university president.
Beyond doubt, Linton left his mark during his 10 years as North Carolina State’s ag dean. Spearheading the ambitious Plant Sciences Initiative and the new Plant Sciences Building will be a lasting legacy. His success in getting the initiative launched and the new building constructed certainly played a major role in landing his new assignment. But his success at North Carolina State goes far beyond the Plant Sciences Initiative.
Since Linton became dean in 2012, he has grown the college to 294 faculty in 12 different departments, more than 2,700 undergraduate students and over 1,000 graduate students. Moreover, Linton has secured North Carolina State as one of the nation’s premier land grant universities. Both research and Extension have flourished under his leadership.
As dean, Linton didn’t stay cloistered in his office at Patterson Hall on the university’s campus. He was fully engaged in North Carolina agriculture, regularly attending field days and grower meetings. I always found Dean Linton, now President Linton, to be friendly, responsive, and approachable. Certainly, one of his greatest skills, was he was a great teacher. Indeed, this will serve him well in his new post in Manhattan, Kan.
Once he arrives at Kansas State, Linton said he plans to spend his initial time listening and learning. It will be interesting to see what kind of initiatives Linton launches as president of Kansas State. Still, he says he will miss North Carolina and North Carolina State.
“This has been a magical place for me and my family,” said Linton. “I am blessed and honored to have led this college for the past decade. It has been the most exciting, rewarding, and challenging time of my career. I will miss this place and all of the people that are connected to it.”
Congratulations, President Linton. You will be missed.