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Coon to retire as vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture

Monday, January 30, 2023

Thomas G Coon


Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean of Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, is retiring on July 10 after nine years of dedicated service and visionary leadership to the university.


“We are blessed that Dr. Coon has spent the last nine years in positions of leadership with Oklahoma State University,” said Kayse Shrum, OSU president. “He has been an influential force in an area where OSU is a recognized leader across the nation. His career of making a difference in the lives of young adults and shaping the agricultural landscape spans 40 years.”


Joining OSU in July 2014, Coon provides leadership for the Ferguson College of Agriculture and the university’s two state agencies: OSU Extension and OSU Ag Research.


He works extensively with public and private agencies, community leaders, and state and local elected officials. He serves as chief OSU administrator for more than 200 faculty, 300 Extension staff, and 300 support and administration staff located on-campus and across the state.


Coon has been the driving force behind New Frontiers, a capital campaign to raise funds for a $115 million new state-of-the-art teaching, research and Extension facility for OSU Agriculture. New Frontiers is recognized as one of the fastest capital campaigns at OSU and the university’s first academic capital campaign of this magnitude to reach its fundraising goal before the building opens.


In addition, Coon is recognized nationally as a leader in agriculture and natural resource management. He is actively involved in the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, serving on multiple committees, including the Board of Directors and Academic Heads Section for the Board on Agriculture Assembly and the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy.


Coon earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) in biology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and a Master of Science and doctorate in ecology from the University of California, Davis.


He began his career as an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at the University of Missouri. He went on to work as an assistant professor and associate professor of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University before becoming a full professor.


Coon also served as the director of Michigan State University Extension before assuming his leadership role at OSU.


“I have been blessed to join the OSU Agriculture family and work to advance it, and I have been blessed to have colleagues as administrators, faculty, staff and students who work together to advance the work of this noble enterprise,” Coon said. “There is another leader out there somewhere who will be blessed to have that same experience, and I will do all I can to help recruit my successor.”

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