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NMSU's John Owens selected for University of Nebraska post

John C. Owens, executive vice president at New Mexico State University, has been named vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. He also will be vice president for the institute in the University of Nebraska system.

John C. Owens, executive vice president, New Mexico State University. (NMSU photo)

Pending approval of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, Owens is scheduled to begin his new duties Jan. 1.

Owens, who has been at NMSU since 1977, expressed excitement about his new job but said leaving NMSU will be difficult.

"It is the university where I came of age in the classroom and the laboratory and it's the place where I learned so much about myself intellectually, socially and spiritually," he said. "Virginia and I reared our children here and our feelings about NMSU, Las Cruces and New Mexico are confounded with so many of our professional and personal experiences that we have great difficulty viewing our departure from dispassionate perspectives."

His wife Virginia was a faculty member in NMSU's College of Education.

"At the same time, we are excited about my new job and our lives at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln," Owens added. "It's an institution with exciting traditions and it's renowned for the distinctions of its faculty and students."

Owens has been executive vice president, the chief academic officer at NMSU, for three years. He previously served 12 years as dean and chief administrative officer of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station.

"John has contributed greatly to NMSU and to the people of our state," said NMSU President Jay Gogue. "John and Virginia will be missed but the impact of their time at NMSU will always be appreciated."

NU President L. Dennis Smith said he was "very pleased to have John Owens join the senior administrative team of the University of Nebraska. He has experience in a number of key roles in highly respected universities, both in agriculture and in leadership of the academic enterprise. I am confident he will make significant contributions to this university and to Nebraska agriculture."

Owens earned his Ph.D. in entomology at Iowa State University in 1971. He was an assistant professor of entomology at Iowa State from 1971 to 1975 and an associate professor of entomology at Texas Tech University in 1975-76. He worked as an entomologist for Pioneer Hi-Bred International for a year, 1976- 77, before joining the NMSU faculty.

He is the immediate past president of the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Owens will replace Irv Omtvedt, who retired after 11 years in the post at the University of Nebraska.

Photo is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/Owens_John_1997.jpg.
For a print, call (505) 646-3221.
CUTLINE: John C. Owens, executive vice president, New Mexico State University. (NMSU photo)

Karl Hill
Oct. 4, 2000