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New Mexico State University

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NMSU selects Rolando Flores as dean of College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Rolando Flores, professor and head of Food Science and Technology and director of the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been selected as dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.



Rolando Flores, professor and head of the Food Science and Technology Department and director of the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been selected as the new dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University. His first day in the new role will be Aug. 1. (NMSU courtesy photo)

“Dr. Flores is internationally recognized for his work in food science technology, agricultural engineering and grain science,” said NMSU Provost Dan Howard. “Moreover, he has been involved in many international initiatives and has a strong record of accomplishment as an administrator at a land-grant university. We look forward to his arrival at NMSU.”

Interim Dean Jim Libbin has led the college over the past year and Howard acknowledged his positive impact on the college and the university.

“I am grateful to Dr. Jim Libbin for his good work as interim dean, which will continue until Dr. Flores takes over in August,” Howard said. “Dr. Libbin has been a great asset to the university and we look forward to his continued contributions to NMSU.”

Flores will join the college on Aug. 1.

“I’m very honored and humbled at the same time,” Flores said of his selection. “It’s a dream come true.”

Flores said the prestige of the college attracted him to the position and he is looking forward to having an integral role in the college’s success.

Joining NMSU will follow a pattern for Flores, who has worked at several land-grant institutions during his career, including Kansas State University, Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I’m a true believer in the land-grant system,” he said. “Although it’s 154 years old, it’s vibrant, a model that’s been re-engineered.”

He pointed to NMSU’s location along the border with Mexico, its structure, the challenges it is working to solve and the diversity of its people as factors that appeal to him.

Originally from Costa Rica, Flores brings a lengthy record of university and federal agency experience.

From 2006 to the present, Flores has been a professor and head of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition, he serves as director of the Food Processing Center, a 32-year-old unique outreach program in support of the value-added food and agricultural programs in Nebraska and the nation.

From 2001-2006, Flores worked first as a research food technologist and later as a research agricultural engineer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.

Flores served as an associate professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University from 1996-2001, where he also held the G.M. Ross Professorship.

From 1993-1996, he was an associate professor and bioprocess engineer in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.

From 1990-1993, Flores was an assistant professor and food engineering extension specialist in the Cooperative Extension Service’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University. He also was an assistant professor at Kansas State from 1989-1990 in the Food and Feed Grains Institute.

From 1975-1986, Flores held various positions at the National Production Bureau in San Jose, Costa Rica, including director of the Administrative Division.

Flores earned a Ph.D. from Kansas State University in grain science in 1989. He has a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Iowa State University (1981) and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Universidad de Costa Rica (1974). Flores was the first person in his family to attend college and is a strong supporter of the tremendous advantage of higher education.

The award-winning academic is the recipient of accolades such as the USDA-ARS 2010 Technology Transfer Award and the 2008 American Association of Cereal Chemists International Stanley Watson Award from the Engineering and Processing Division.

When Flores starts as dean on Aug. 1, he plans to learn as much as he can about the college, focusing especially on its uniqueness and potential.

“We need to exploit our uniqueness to attract students, and strengthen our research and extension programs,” he said.

He sees challenges facing the nation as globalization; the need for adequate food and water; the need for new and better foods for human nutrition; the need for new forms of energy; full utilization of human capabilities; improvement of ecosystems; and understanding that business as usual “actually means moving backward.”

Flores said he will be committed to being accessible and available as dean and said he looks forward to working together with the college’s staff and faculty in their strong commitment to the people of New Mexico.

Flores and his wife, Sandra, have two adult daughters, Ana Catalina and Andrea, and two grandsons.