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NMSU Exec VP to Head Science Association

LAS CRUCES -- John Owens, interim executive vice president at New Mexico State University, is president-elect of one of the four regional divisions of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Owens was elected at the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division meeting at the AAAS in Grand Junction, Colorado, May 17-21. Each of the four divisions is a self-governing unit of the 150-year old, 140,000 member AAAS, the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society. The division covers 10 U.S. states and portions of Canada and Mexico.

Owens will succeed Thomas Christiansen at the University of Colorado as division president next May. Owens entered his current university post last June. He served as dean and chief administrative officer of the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences for 12 years. He is a professor of entomology, having served at NMSU since 1977.

In 1995 Owens chaired the Board on Agriculture, a group representing all administrators and scientists from member institutions of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. The previous year he chaired the Council of Administrative Heads of Agriculture, representing administrators from the nation's land grant colleges.

The AAAS, which publishes Science, has it's mission to further work of scientists, foster scientific freedom, advance science education, improve cooperation among scientists, and increase public appreciation of science. It is the job of the regional division to carry out these goals in its territory.

Owens said that NMSU has a rich tradition of faculty membership in the AAAS and that several scientists associated with NMSU have provided leadership for the division including Professor T.D.A. Cockerell in 1926. "We still give out awards at NMSU in honor of Cockerell who was an entomology professor and who taught in Sam Steel, the only member of the Class of 1893." Owens said, "So it's a thrill for me to follow in Professor Cockerell's footsteps."