April 11, 2005
A Deanly chronologyAlthough Renzo E. Muckelroy of Southern Illinois Normal University's biological science department began teaching agriculture classes in 1911, the University had no ag department as such until 1913. Muckelroy served as its first head with Herbert B. Piper his sole faculty member.
The agriculture department joined the newly formed College of Vocations (later renamed the College of Vocations and Professions) in 1943, remaining there until 1953, when it became the freestanding Division of Rural Studies. In April 1955, the SIU Board of Trustees retooled it as the School of Rural Studies. Three months later, after the General Assembly agreed to allow SINU to offer a degree in agriculture, the School of Agriculture was born, and Wendell E. Keepper, who had joined the University in 1950, became its first dean. The School became a college in 1987.
All five of the men who had served as dean since the start of the college were photographed together at a 40th anniversary celebration in 1996. Pictured (from left) are Keepper (1955-1974), college alumnus Gilbert H. Kroening (1974-1986), college alumnus James A. Tweedy (1986-1992), interim dean William H. Herr (1992-1993) and James M. McGuire (1993-1999).
Succeeding deans were W. David Shoup (1999-2003), interim dean Robert D. Arthur (2003-2004) and current dean Gary L. Minish, who came to SIUC in 2004.