UC Vice President Gomes retires

W.R. "Reg" Gomes retired from the University of California as Vice President--Agriculture and Natural Resources on May 1 after 11 years of service.

UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) is a statewide research and public service organization responsible for activities in agricultural, natural resources, environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences, forestry, human and community development, and related areas. ANR is based on the Berkeley, Davis, and Riverside campuses of the University of California, and in more than 50 regional and county offices throughout the state.

When Gomes arrived at UC in 1995, then-UC President Jack Peltason asked him to develop a vision and organize ANR for 21st-century California.

Gomes took over a set of programs that had been hit hard by the budget cuts of the early 1990s, and he led ANR on a path of renewal. ANR again experienced another round of deep budget cuts during the state's recent economic downturn. Throughout these challenging times, he maintained the division's priorities by making difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions.

"I'm proud of the cultural changes that have taken place in our division," Gomes said. "Driven by a need to serve a rapidly changing industry in a rapidly changing state, we now emphasize emerging issues in agriculture, natural resources and human sciences and position ourselves to address these needs. While we continue to serve broadly based stakeholders, we no longer focus on discipline-oriented and geographically defined goals. Rather, our decisions and directions are designed to address those areas where we can make the greatest difference."

In Gomes' honor, UC is kicking off the UC Cooperative Extension oral history project -- "Taking the University to the People." This project embodies ANR's mission of public service, such as helping California agriculture fight E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella outbreaks; Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter; promoting nutrition, after-school and youth programs among underserved populations; or working with legislators, researchers and industry to best guide California's resources into the future.

"My 11 years at UC have been a rich time of working with a cadre of gifted academics, dedicated staff and insightful administrators," Gomes said.

Prior to joining UC, Gomes was a professor at The Ohio State University and served as a department head and later dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gomes serves on numerous state and national boards including the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Research Council (chair), Farm Foundation Agricultural Round Table (steering committee), and California State Board of Food and Agriculture. He is co-chair of the Joint Policy Council on Agriculture and Higher Education.

Born in Modesto, Gomes grew up on his parents' dairy farm just south of Hanford. Gomes has been a Fulbright Hays Distinguished Traveling Professor in Croatia and a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He holds a bachelor's degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, master's degree from Washington State University, and Ph.D. from Purdue University in Indiana. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Moldova State University and an honorary professorship by China Agricultural University.

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