Nov 1, 2022
Purdue appoints heads of entomology, botany and plant pathology

Purdue University has a new head of the Department of Entomology, Catherine Hill, and head of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Tesfaye Mengiste.


Catherine Hill

Hill, professor and former interim department head of entomology, earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and doctorate in entomology from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Hill said she looks forward to working with the department and its many partners in training future leaders and conducting nation-leading research.

“Purdue entomology enjoys a proud history of serving the land-grant mission, having delivered excellence in discovery, learning and extension for our state and nation for more than 100 years,” Hill said in a news release. “Looking ahead, the department is unified around a shared vision to address some of society’s greatest challenges in the areas of global food security, the protection of agricultural production and human health and animal health, and the preservation of natural resources.”


Tesfaye Mengiste

Mengiste, professor and former interim department head of botany and plant pathology, earned his bachelor’s degree in plant sciences from Haramaya University in Ethiopia, a master’s degree in plant biotechnology from the University of London, and a doctorate in plant molecular biology from the University of Basel in Switzerland. Mengiste said to be asked to lead one of the oldest, most vibrant departments in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, knowing its national and international impact, is a privilege.

“My role as a department head of this vibrant academic community is to promote excellence in all our mission areas – research, engagement and training of the next generation of plant science professionals – by creating a climate where everyone’s success is recognized,” Mengiste said in the release. “I am here to support our faculty, staff and students and catalyze success.”

Karen Plaut, Purdue University’s Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, said they bring extensive experience to their positions.

“They are both highly accomplished and internationally respected in their fields and also bring distinct leadership strengths to their departments,” Plaut said in the release. “I look forward to working with them in their new roles.”

Photos courtesy Purdue University

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