CORVALLIS, Ore. - A longtime plant microbiology researcher who holds the highest academic rank possible for faculty at Oregon State University has been named dean of the University Honors College, officials announced today.

Daniel J. Arp, one of a handful of current faculty to carry the title of "distinguished professor," has been at Oregon State since 1990, when he came to Corvallis from the University of California-Riverside. At OSU, he was named the L.L. Stewart Professor of Gene Research in 2002 and department chair of Botany and Plant Pathology in 2004.

He will assume leadership of a college known for its academic rigor, currently enrolling approximately 500 students. Established in 1995, it is a degree-granting honors college, one of only a select few nationally to function in that way; its students earn honors baccalaureate degrees in their academic majors. The college was led for 12 years by Dean Joe Hendricks, who announced his retirement earlier this academic year.

Arp's long record of academic excellence and campus leadership were persuasive in his appointment as the new dean, said OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. Arp has published some 125 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has won numerous awards for teaching and research.

"Dan embodies the outstanding academic achievement to which honors students aspire and has a passion for sharing his knowledge with students," said Randhawa. "While at OSU, he has served as an advisor and mentor to scores of graduate, undergraduate and high school students, even as he teaches a full complement of courses and maintains an very active research program. Our students will benefit enormously from his dedication and personal example."

Arp earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began his academic career at the University of Erlangen in West Germany, where he served as a research director and NATO postdoctoral fellow.

He returned to the States in 1982 for a faculty position at California-Riverside in biochemistry, where he worked for the next eight years before joining OSU.

His work in plant microbial biochemistry and genetics, conducted in concert with colleagues around the country, has earned Arp a national reputation and some $4.5 million in current research funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

In his application to lead the University Honors College, Arp pointed out that his interest is longstanding: He served on the search committee that recommended Hendricks as dean 13 years ago, his daughter, Sarah Arp, is a 2003 University Honors College graduate and Arp has co-taught the "Introduction to Honors Thesis" course an astonishing 19 times with Hendricks over the past 12 years.

"Honors college students are productive and engaged in the university, contributing not just to the UHC, but to all colleges. They raise the level of excellence and expectation of all students," said Arp. "The UHC is a critical component of the rich tapestry of OSU, and it will be an honor to lead it into the future."

Arp is expected to begin work as dean on May 1, 2008.

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Sabah Randhawa,