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Reflecting on the Success of UW CALSNR

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Dr. Barbara Rasco

As I begin my fourth year as the Dean of the University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources (CALSNR), I would like to take a moment to reflect on how fortunate I am to be in Wyoming. 

Our college is uniquely situated to develop knowledge and advance innovation and economic development in agriculture and natural resources, key sectors of the Wyoming economy. 

I am proud our college mission – growing knowledge, people and communities – resonates across the state. The university-wide goals of student success and faculty excellence underpin our mission to serve the state with compelling, forward-looking programs, placing Wyoming as a leader in areas we have a competitive advantage. 

Supporting the college pays dividends for Wyoming. UW is the only four-year university in the state of Wyoming. The college is committed to meeting the needs of Wyoming in a partnership with our stakeholders and community colleges. 

Agriculture underpins vibrant communities and is the cornerstone of Wyoming providing rewarding career options for our students. Ag alumni are leaders in their respective disciplines, in the community and are committed to serving others. 

Supporting ag slows the brain drain of our youth from the state. UW’s commitment to rural community vitality across the state is reflected in our Extension and 4-H programs. We promote youth and adult education, economic development, food security, health and independent living, allowing individuals and families to thrive.

Our objectives as a college are to catalyze discoveries, new technologies and best management practices, workforce development and community engagement to advance agriculture and natural resources in Wyoming by invigorating teaching, research and Extension services. 

The economic success of Wyoming producers and their entry into emerging markets is enhanced when the college leads in agricultural science and technology. New advances in production agriculture, rangeland science, animal and plant production and health are critical to meet this need. 

We use developments in genomics, synthetic biology, molecular and cell biology, physiology and reproductive biology, nutrition, bioinformatics and predictive modeling to grow new knowledge and provide solutions for global challenges, building upon the resources we have in this living laboratory that is the state of Wyoming. 

We address critical problems in food production and resource management exacerbated by drought, invasive species, temperature stress, limited water resources and policies involving the use of federal lands.

By building upon our current foundation and what we already do well, there is no reason UW cannot be the destination for interdisciplinary education, research and Extension in agriculture and natural resources, attracting students and faculty who share Wyoming values, customs and culture and its mission for excellence from across the country.

The unwavering support we receive from our constituents, be it through our advisory board, legislative support or our dedicated alumni and donors, is nothing short of remarkable. Without this level of support, we could not achieve what we set out to do.  

As I looked back at the extensive list of alumni, corporations and legacy partners we have had the privilege to recognize over the years, it brings me great pleasure to announce this year’s honorees who will be recognized at our fall banquet on Oct. 5. 

The Swanson Family Foundation will be celebrated as our Legacy Partner and Mountain Meadow Wool will be acknowledged as our Corporate Partner. 

Additionally, we are proud to recognize Roger Stuber, an innovative rancher and leader in the beef industry as one of our outstanding alumni. 

Furthermore, we will pay tribute to the late Karen Williams, an exceptional alumna who made significant contributions to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and who established the Early Care and Education Center on campus, in addition to the leadership she provided to our college.

These alumni and partners exemplify what is great about our university and our state, and I am proud to be a part of these efforts.

Dr. Barbara Rasco is the dean of the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources. She can be reached at 307-766-4133.

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