The dean of Mississippi State University’s College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center will take on an expanded leadership role.
Effective Aug. 19 and pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, George M. Hopper will also serve as the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Hopper has served as interim CALS dean and interim MAFES director since the administration of the four units was merged last July. A faculty-led Select Committee on Efficiencies and Innovations recommended merging the two colleges, but MSU administration decided to retain the colleges and merge only their administration.
Gregory Bohach, Vice President of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, and Jerry Gilbert, MSU Provost and Executive Vice President, announced Hoppers’ appointment, pending formal approval.
"Forestry and agriculture are the largest and most important industries in our state’s economy, accounting for about one-third of all jobs in the state and nearly 25 percent of all income," Bohach said. "We are fortunate to have someone with Dr. Hopper’s broad educational background and professional experience to lead these four units within the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine."
Hopper has served as dean of MSU’s College of Forest Resources for six years. Before becoming dean, he spent 11 years as head of the department of forestry, wildlife and fisheries at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
"MSU has many challenges and opportunities in its future, and we are going to need proven leadership to address them," Gilbert said. "Dr. Hopper has successfully led the four units, and we are confident in his ability to continue addressing the evolving missions of these programs."
In addition to earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MSU, Hopper holds a doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. A Vicksburg native, Hopper is a Society of American Foresters Fellow and a past president of the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs.
Founded in 1903, CALS consists of nine academic units. Many faculty researchers in the college have a joint appointment with MAFES. The College of Forest Resources was formed in 1954 and consists of three academic departments, with faculty researchers having joint appointments in the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. Both colleges have faculty with appointments in MSU’s Extension Service.