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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Mullins Leads NMSU's Agronomy and Horticulture Department

LAS CRUCES - Nationally recognized environmental scientist Gregory Mullins has joined New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Home Economics as the new head of its agronomy and horticulture department.

The Virginia native will lead research programs ranging from high-tech genetic engineering of cotton to economically important chile and onion breeding.

"My long-term goal is to have a forward thinking focus," he said. "We certainly have excellence in the areas of environmental science, plant genetics and molecular biology."

Mullins joins NMSU after a long stint at Virginia Tech, where he was a professor and nutrient management specialist. Previously, he was a professor of nutrient management and soil chemistry at Auburn University from 1985 to 1999.

As a department head and professor at NMSU, he will oversee instruction for the department's 150 undergraduate and graduate students, whose majors range from agronomy and horticulture to soil and environmental sciences.

"An important aspect of our programs in the future will be turfgrass, landscaping and urban horticulture," he said. "I want to make sure our faculty has the opportunity and resources to make a name for ourselves in those areas."

Mullins, whose goals are to increase enrollment particularly in environmental and turfgrass science, said he will always seek input from faculty and students.

"This is a totally different change for my wife and I in terms of climate and culture, but we're excited about being here," he said. "The strength of the department drew me here. There are a number of quality scientists here who are on the cutting edge of their profession."

Mullins has published some 63 refereed scientific journal articles, six book chapters and 49 Extension and trade journal publications. His honors include being named a Soil Science Society of America Fellow in 2004, a fellow with the American Society of Agronomy in 2003, and teacher of the year in 1999 at Auburn University's College of Agriculture.

An avid outdoors person, Mullins holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Berea College in Kentucky and a master's degree in soil chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His doctorate in soil chemistry and soil fertility is from Purdue University.

He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Soil Science Society of America, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America.