MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — The College of Agriculture at Kansas State University (KSU) has announced Gordon Smith as the new head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry. Smith will also direct the International Grains Program Institute, located in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S. He will begin his official appointment Feb. 2.

“Dr. Smith brings astute and prudent leadership, and a wealth of ideas, energy and experience to the position,” said John Floros, dean of KSU’s College of Agriculture. “I am looking forward to working with him as he settles into his new role, and as he provides visionary leadership for our Department of Grain Science and Industry.”

Smith brings a wealth of industry and academic experience to KSU, the university said. Prior to this new role, he worked nine years as vice-president and research fellow for ConAgra Foods’ research, quality and innovation team in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. He has also worked in research and development for Sara Lee Foods in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., and Jimmy Dean Foods, a division of Sara Lee, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.

“My career has focused on translating science into meaningful products for consumers,” Smith said. “I believe educational excellence is rooted in great teaching in conjunction with motivated students and faculty. Cutting-edge research can expose students to current science, and our students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to impact the world through interacting with the industries we serve.”

In his new role, Smith said he hopes to continue the great tradition of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at KSU while striving to make the department even more relevant to students, the industry and consumers of grain products. The diversity of the department, he said, is a key advantage that can be further leveraged to address critical challenges.

Many academic institutions, specifically land-grant universities, have worked with Smith in some capacity in the last three decades. Just in the last eight years, Smith served in multiple roles such as adjunct professor, doctoral advisory committee member, program advisory board member and guest lecturer for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Purdue University, Clemson University, Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota.

Smith received his bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He completed a master’s degree in organic chemistry and doctorate in food science from Texas A&M University.

As a food science scholar, Smith has authored or co-authored published research involving food product creation, food product tests and shelf-life stability. This research has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including but not limited to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Journal of Food Science, Meat Science, Annals of Applied Biology, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, and Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Smith also has served as a co-author on food science book chapters and has developed or co-developed nearly 20 patents or patent-pending technologies in food manufacturing. He has traveled to present his research throughout the U.S. and globally to places such as the U.K., Belgium, Germany and India.

Among the professional societies in which Smith belongs are the American Chemical Society, Institute of Food Technologists and American Meat Science Association. He is also a member of Phi Tau Sigma, a food science honor society, and Gamma Sigma Delta, an agricultural honor society.

In the private industry sector, Smith has been recognized for business critical patents, consumer and business impact, product development, innovation and leadership excellence.