PULLMAN — John C. Gardner, vice president for research and economic development for the University of Missouri system, will become the vice president for economic development and extension for Washington State University on July 1.
In making the announcement, WSU President Elson S. Floyd praised Gardner’s long and distinguished career in economic development, agriculture and research and said he is the right person to coordinate the university’s efforts in helping build the state’s economy.
“Economic development is a vital part of what we do for our state and region. To be as effective as possible, I think it is important for us to coordinate our efforts under unified leadership,” said Floyd.
“As a land-grant university, we have the responsibility to extend ourselves into every county in Washington,” Floyd said. “It is very important for us to make sure that we communicate to the governor and to the legislature and to all of our stakeholders that we indeed contribute to the economic development and vitality of the state.”
Floyd said the new vice president would be based in Seattle, which he referred to as the “hub of economic activity and growth in the state.”
Gardner will also work closely with colleagues in Pullman and at each of the university’s campuses, as well as in research centers and extension offices around Washington, Floyd said.
“I am an agronomist, born and bred in the land-grant system,” Gardner said. “But I don’t see the world through the viewpoint of disciplines, nor teaching or research or extension. Our opportunity is not based on looking inward, but outward towards a global economy based on innovation.”
Gardner said that, by being based in Seattle, he hoped he could make connections and build bridges to further finance and develop WSU’s research.
Gardner has served as vice president for research and economic development at the University of Missouri since October 2005. Previously, he had served as associate dean of research and outreach in the university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
He said he is excited by the opportunities offered by WSU and by the institution’s potential in research and economic development.
“Obviously, I have a lot of experience and faith in Dr. Floyd (the former president of the University of Missouri) and his leadership and what he can do,” Gardner said.
Prior to coming to MU in late 1999, Gardner was one of the founders and the general manager/CEO of AgGrow Oils, which produced, processed and marketed specialty oilseeds.
Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a master’s in agronomy from Kansas State University and a doctoral degree in agronomy and crop physiology from the University of Nebraska.
Gardner visited Pullman and Seattle last week to discuss the position with Floyd and with administrators, faculty and staff.
The appointment of Gardner is the latest of several administrative changes that Floyd has put in place since taking over as WSU president on May 21.
He consolidated the offices of student affairs and equity and diversity and appointed Michael J. Tate, who had previously served as vice president for equity and diversity, as the vice president in charge of both areas.
Mary Doyle, who has served in the dual roles of vice president for Information Systems and vice provost for administration at Washington State University since 2002, is now devoting her energy full time to enhanced duties in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. Effective June 1, she is vice provost for academic planning, budget and resource management.
Floyd said he is currently seeking a new vice president for information technology who will serve as the chief information officer for the university.