Russell Redding named Interim Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Jan 31, 2011

Delaware Valley College has named Russell Redding,  secretary of agriculture in the Rendell Administration, as Interim Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Russell spoke at our symposium, The Precarious Alliance, back in October 2010. Here is a clip of his response to the question, "What role will agriculture play in addressing the issues of poverty, unemployment and world hunger?"

“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have such a distinguished public figure transitioning to education at DelVal,” said President Joseph S. Brosnan. “The Commonwealth’s loss is our gain. Russell will focus on leadership and help us move forward with our new vision for the future.”

Redding starts immediately. He replaces Dean Judith Schwank, who is leaving to run for the state Senate in her home district of Berks County. The former secretary will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the college’s Krauskopf Library.

Discussions between the college and Redding started two years ago when the dean’s position first became vacant.

“Dr. Brosnan picked up where that conversation let off,” Redding said. “Much has changed in a very positive way since then. There are plans for a new life sciences center. A strategic plan calling for university status has been approved. And the college received the gift of the Gemmill Campus.”

The 398-acre campus in Jamison was part of a $30 million gift in September from the Warwick Foundation and the Gemmill family. Redding will help the college decide how to use the property, which is a working farm.

“The Gemmill Campus is a beautiful, highly productive piece of land,” he said. “The possibilities there are endless. We will try to find the appropriate intersection between production agriculture and academic programs.”

Redding said the call from Dr. Brosnan came just as he was leaving Harrisburg with the rest of Gov. Rendell’s cabinet.

“I was not expecting a call,” the new dean said. “I was focusing on my options. I promised the family that after 16 years in government service I would reflect a bit on my future, to think critically about the next logical step. All of a sudden, Dr. Brosnan is on the phone.”

After a visit to the campus and continued discussions, the outgoing cabinet member determined DelVal was indeed the next logical step.

Redding served a total of 16 years in the State Department of Agriculture and was appointed secretary in 2009. He has an innate understanding of production agriculture, having worked on his family’s dairy farm in Gettysburg. For a time he ran his own dairy operation with his wife, Nina.

Redding is a Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s in Agriculture and Extension Education. He has been involved with Future Farmers of America for three decades and served as Vice President of the state organization.

As dean, Redding said he will concentrate on leadership, communications and outreach.
“The key is to keep the momentum going that Dr. Brosnan has established,” he said. “That means providing leadership for the agricultural programs, meeting with staff, managing the farm properties and reaching out to the broader agricultural community to find the proper place there for DelVal.”

Redding, his wife and two sons -- Garrison, 16, and Elliot, 15 -- make their home in Adams County, south of Carlisle.

Delaware Valley College is an independent, multi-disciplinary, four-year residential institution in Doylestown, Pa. It enrolls 1,700 full-time undergraduates studying 27 majors. The college offers an MBA degree, a master’s in Educational Leadership and a wide range of Continuing Education courses.