CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has selected Thomas H. DeLuca, a higher education leader with deep experience in both natural resource and environmental issues, as the next Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the OSU College of Forestry.
DeLuca, a forest soil scientist whose long research career includes more than a decade in Sweden and the United Kingdom, comes to OSU from the University of Montana, where he is the dean of the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation.
He will start at Oregon State on June 30, 2020, overseeing a college with six undergraduate programs, four graduate programs and more than 1,200 students.
“Tom is a highly accomplished researcher and leader who understands Oregon State’s commitment to building and enhancing healthy communities, economies and ecosystems,” said Edward Feser, OSU’s provost and executive vice president. “His national and international experience in working collaboratively with other universities, a range of forestry professionals and an array of stakeholders will help advance the great success and contributions occurring within Oregon State’s College of Forestry.”
DeLuca will replace Anthony S. Davis, who has been interim dean since September 2018 after serving as the acting dean of the college since January 2018. Davis will return to the role of executive associate dean that he held under Dean Thomas Maness, who died in July 2018 following a lengthy illness.
DeLuca holds a Ph.D. in soil science from Iowa State University and has been the University of Montana’s forestry dean for three years.
“I wasn’t looking at any other options or moves, but this is the sort of opportunity that occurs once in a lifetime,” DeLuca said. “I feel strongly that this is a unique position at a time in which forestry has the potential to take a front seat in both conservation and commerce. It is an opportunity to work with an inspiring group of scientists and educators to forward the mission of the College of Forestry and help secure a more sustainable future.”
At the University of Montana, DeLuca oversees six undergraduate programs and nine graduate programs together encompassing 900 students. He is also responsible for a 28,000-acre research forest, a 3,600-acre cattle ranch and multiple on-campus research centers.
DeLuca also serves the state of Montana as the director of the Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station and is a member of the governor’s Montana Forest Action Council.
Prior to becoming forestry dean at Montana, DeLuca spent five years as director and professor at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Before that he held research positions in Europe; at the Wilderness Society in Bozeman, Montana; at the University of Montana; and at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.
DeLuca holds a master’s degree from Montana State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both in soil science.
“The College of Forestry at OSU has a deep and rich history, has demonstrated incredible resilience and is poised for a phenomenal and influential future,” DeLuca said. “Dean Maness had a broad, inclusive and inspiring vision, and while the unique capacity of this individual will not be duplicated, there is much that he set in motion that I’m excited to help push to fruition.”
In October the college celebrated the grand opening of its A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory, a facility dedicated to furthering research and collaboration in the timber design, engineering, fabrication and construction sectors. The lab is part of a new 95,000-square-foot forest science complex that will also include the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center.
The college broke ground in October 2016 on the complex, and the Peavy Forest Science Center is scheduled to open in spring 2020. The complex showcases innovative uses for wood in building construction and design, including advanced wood products such as cross-laminated timber.
About the OSU College of Forestry: For a century, the College of Forestry has been a world class center of teaching, learning and research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustaining ecosystems, managing forests and manufacturing wood products; conducts basic and applied research on the nature and use of forests; and operates more than 15,000 acres of college forests.