Transition of leadership Galey retires from University of Wyoming

Written by Saige

Laramie – After 17 years serving as dean of the University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dean Frank Galey retired, effective June 30, and started a position as Provost at Utah State University. 

“I started officially as dean of the college on Sept. 1, 2017,” Galey says, noting before that, he served as department head for the Veterinary Sciences Department. “Things have changed quite a lot since I’ve been here.”

He adds, “We’ve got great people at the college, and that’s what makes so many positive things happen.” 

Over time

When Galey arrived as dean of the college, he had several primary visions to build and grow the college. 

“One of my big visions for the college has always been that Wyoming, as a state, is our classroom and our laboratory,” Galey explains. “My goal has been to better connect our faculty and our students with the rest of the state, and we’ve done that with varying degrees of success.” 

Focusing on important areas related to ag, he notes the college has added inter-disciplinary programs to address state needs and worked to keep programs relevant to production.

“We looked hard at several studies to make sure our programs are connecting with where jobs are going – both regionally and national,” Galey comments. 

Growth

As a result of the focus on students, Galey says, “We’ve enjoyed 16 years of steady enrollment growth, especially at the undergraduate level.”

Today, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has well over 1,000 students, seeing steady growth of four to five percent each year. 

“Certainly this year, with increased marketing, we experienced an almost nine percent jump in our freshman class, and we continue to grow across the board in most of our programs,” he says. 

While enrollment and programs have both grown, Galey is quick to recognize the faculty and staff in the college have both been integral in its success. 

“No one can change a college by themselves. We need faculty, associates, department heads, students and staff to improve,” he comments. “If we’ve accomplished anything, we’ve hired a great bunch of folks across the board.” 

Faculty numbers have remained relatively steady, until recently, when a state budget downturn decreased the number of faculty members. The number of Extension personnel has also remained relatively constant. 

“Overall, we’re below where we were in 2014,” Galey says, “but we’ve got great people. Our faculty and staff are excellent.”

Galey notes he has consistently worked to make sure faculty members are aware they are appreciated.

“It’s been a privilege and challenges to lead this bunch of faculty,” he continues. “So many of the successes that the College of Ag has seen really belong to the faculty.” 

Challenges and wins

While he has enjoyed his time at UW, Galey recognizes it has not been without challenges. 

“I want to make sure we’re connected to the state, and that can be a challenge,” he says. “The biggest challenge I have is making sure people know they are appreciated and making sure we’re responsible to the state’s needs.”

Galey continues, “Every day, as dean, I wake up and think about how we can better connect to our state.”

Additionally, Galey says challenge and opportunity both arose from the energy boom across Wyoming in the early 2000s.

“In the early 2000s, we formed an interdisciplinary program in restoration ecology that feeds perfectly into our range, water and oil programs,” he says. “This program has benefitted the ranching community, and hopefully we did some good for the energy industry, as well. We’ve certainly worked well within the state, which has led to our success.”

Good years

Since he joined UW, Galey says he has enjoyed his time in Laramie.

“I’m a land-grant person. At first, I asked myself why a veterinarian would want to be dean, but I applied and accepted the position because I grew up in the ranching community in Big Horn, and I feel a connection to the agriculture community,” Galey comments.

He continues, “It’s been a tremendous opportunity to get to know folks across the state, visit their ranches and see so many neat places. I’m going to miss the people – both in the college and the state – the most, though.” 

The future

As he looks forward to the future, Galey also sees opportunity at Utah State University. 

“The overall commitment of Utah State University (USU) to foster the land-grant mission is the most exciting aspect of moving to Logan,” he says. “USU is another land-grant university with tremendous people.” 

Galey also says he’s looking forward to learning more about the geography and people in Utah and working with the administration. 

“While I’m going to live in Logan, I’ll be back to Wyoming often,” Galey says. “I hope the people of Wyoming stay in touch.” 

Praise

Close colleagues from the college praise Galey for his commitment and ability to transform the college, including his influence and leadership that helped to form several influential programs in the college. 

UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Interim Dean Bret Hess has served under Galey for the majority of his time at UW. 

Hess emphasizes Galey’s role in supporting the work of the college’s various departments, citing modernization and expansion of Research and Extension (R&E) Centers across the state.

“We were fortunate to have the opportunity, under Dean Galey’s leadership, to build the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Lingle,” he says, adding both Powell and Sheridan’s R&E centers have been expanded during Galey’s tenure. “These activities have helped to expand research opportunities throughout the state.” 

“Related to the expansion of research capabilities, we’ve seen steady increase in the amount of extra-mural funds the college has attracted during this time,” Hess continues. “This comes from not only the facilities, but the personnel who have been hired over the 17 years of Galey’s leadership.” 

Anne Leonard, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources director of college relations, says, “Working with Frank, I have learned a lot. The difference between him and many previous deans was he was deeply committed to working closely with producers.”

Leonard notes Galey was widely and easily available, attending meetings of producers around the state throughout the year. 

“He truly appreciated the intersection between research and what we do at the college and where it hits the ground,” she adds. “He is a native Wyomingite, from Big Horn, and he was raised on a ranch. His background in agriculture and his previous work reinforced what the land-grant university mission is, and he didn’t just take it to heart, he lived it.” 

In addition to fundraising efforts, Galey was responsible for leading the development of the Wildlife-Livestock Disease Research Center, Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center, addition of Bio-Safety Level III lab at the Wyoming State Vet Lab, a revitalized soil lab and more. He has also taken a leadership role throughout the state, including by chairing the state’s Brucellosis Coordination Team since its formation.

“Students were really important to Dean Galey, too,” Leonard says, noting that Galey was responsible for pushing international education and internship opportunities. “All of these programs really strengthened not only Wyoming’s but America’s agriculture industry.”

Well wishes for Dean Galey can be sent to University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3354, Laramie, WY 82071.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..