Message from the Dean - April 8, 2024

Hello, CALS,

I hope you all had a great weekend. I’m going to take a chance and say that spring is definitely here – but check with a better authority before you put frost-sensitive plants outside. This ISU Extension and Outreach AnswerLine article about PLANning for your garden offers some great tips.

These weeks, as we head toward graduation exercises, are especially filled with events and presentations, and last week was a prime example. We had our CALS Spring Town Hall and the ISU 25 Year Club event on Monday. IDALS Secretary Mike Naig (see pic below) and USDA Undersecretary Alexis Taylor spoke to different student groups on Tuesday. The Translational AI Center had a hackathon event at the Student Innovation Center on Wednesday afternoon. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Phase 1 dedication and Phase 2 groundbreaking was on Thursday (see pic below), and by Friday, we were all ready for a break! These were terrific opportunities to learn and be inspired and to celebrate the successes and forward-leaning outlook of our great university and college. Please watch for more upcoming events like these, and participate when you can.

I want to once again send a special thank you to everyone in the college helping our students through the challenge of the new Workday Student information system. This is a necessary system switch, but very much one that has required, and still does, a good deal of figuring out, cross-checking and time. Thank you for hanging in there with it. Thanks, too, to our colleagues centrally who are rolling this out and problem solving it, and let's remind ourselves that our students overall think it's great.

And finally, a quick note for me to give shout outs to the students who participate in the CALS Dean's Undergraduate, and Graduate, Student Advisory Groups. These groups meet pretty regularly throughout each semester with me, Carmen Bain, Howard Tyler and Andy Zehr. We learn from each other on behalf of students across our 14 departments and many majors. They are:


  • Sydney Etten, agricultural and rural policy studies
  • Rylee Guajardo, agricultural business
  • Summer Haddock, animal science
  • Madi Harvey, animal science
  • Tori Hlas, agricultural studies
  • Alexandra Hoffman, animal science
  • Adele Hogan, food science
  • Jennifer Holliday, agricultural studies
  • Paige Jergens, agricultural business
  • Lydia Johnson, agricultural and life sciences education
  • Raegan Kime, agricultural and rural policy studies
  • Maddilyn Klemme, agricultural communication
  • Synobia McNicholas, agricultural business


  • Mahule Elyse Bo Alladassi, agronomy
  • Vishesh Bhatia, animal science
  • Xiaoyi Cheng, genetics, development and cell biology
  • Cori Cooper, animal science
  • Thierry Guedeyi, agricultural education and studies
  • Derrick Kapayou, natural resource ecology and management
  • Ambar Melendez Perez, natural resource ecology and management
  • Ceren Ordas, ecology, evolution and organismal biology
  • Claire Rude, natural resource ecology and management
  • Carly Strauser, horticulture
  • Heather Tenboer, agricultural and biosystems engineering

Have a great week - Dan

Scenes from CALS

Last week, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Secretary Mike Naig spoke at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers student club dinner meeting.

Last week and this week, check out the fantastically beautiful carpet of Siberian squill on the north slope of The Knoll. There are several places on campus with this kind of display, including under the bur oak in front of Catt Hall that George Washington Carver would have enjoyed shade from!

Last week, at the ribbon cutting dedication of Phase 1 of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and groundbreaking for Phase 2 of the VDL, was a great celebration. Pictured left to right are: Rodger Main, VDL director; Larissa Holtmyer Jones, ISU Foundation president and CEO; Wendy Wintersteen, ISU President; Representative Randy Feenstra; Governor Kim Reynolds; IDALS Secretary Mike Naig; Howard Hill, former head of veterinary microbiology in the Diagnostic Laboratory; and Dan Grooms, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

One of the Bridges of Madison County - if you've not been there to see the bridges, you should; it's a wonderful thing to do!

IDALS Secretary Mike Naig speaking to a group of students in a classroom.Small blue flowers covering a hillside along a sidewalk, in amongst tall trees.Line of people standing behind a table that has several boxes on it, each indicating 1,600,000 had been raised for Iowa State University's new vet diagnostic lab.Roseman Bridge in Madison County, Iowa.