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MU Chancellor Designated to Chair Key Federal Administration Board

May 3rd, 2011

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— President Barack Obama has designated University of Missouri Chancellor Brady J. Deaton as chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, a key federal Administrative post. Deaton will continue in his leadership role as Chancellor at MU while serving the nation as chair of BIFAD. His term in this position will begin immediately.

University of Missouri Chancellor Brady J. Deaton

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) was created in 1975 under Title XII (Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger) of the Foreign Assistance Act. The primary role of BIFAD is to draw on scientific knowledge and capacity of U.S. higher education institutions, especially those with land-grant missions, to advise and serve the country’s international assistance efforts via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator. The seven members of the board are appointed by the President; at least four of them must be from the U.S. university community.

“This is an excellent opportunity to draw on my academic and administrative background to make a difference in the well-being of the neediest people of the world,” Deaton said. “The benefit to the university and state of Missouri, via my work with BIFAD and USAID, is significant and I embrace the opportunity to engage in this opportunity.  Our world is ever connected and the university values itself as a contributor academically, scientifically and economically to the global economy.  The members of the board and I will address the scientific and educational foundations of agricultural, food and resource problems that continue to plague many parts of the world. I am very enthusiastic to serve in this capacity.”

Deaton was brought to the attention of President Obama for this position by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill based on his service as chancellor of MU, a major public, AAU-member research, land-grant university. In addition to an extensive administrative background at MU (provost, 1998-2004); deputy chancellor and chief of staff to chancellor (1994-98); Social Science Unit leader and chair of Agricultural Economics (1989-2003), Deaton has conducted extensive research and program development work encompassing economic development at home and abroad.

Deaton has been nationally recognized for his efforts to promote global education and international understanding beginning with his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Recent initiatives include establishment of the European Union Center (currently known as the Transatlantic Center at MU (1998), which addresses critical public policy issues between the U.S. and the European Union, and MU’s Confucius Center (2011) to promote education, trade and cultural exchange between China and Missouri.

Deaton has served on numerous and wide-ranging advisory committees, boards, accreditation teams and consultation projects during his career.  Currently, he serves on the Board of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU) and recently served as chair of its Commission on International Programs, which recognized him in 2006 with the Malone Award for International Leadership.  He is vice chair of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri and serves on the board of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. He has consulted with Winrock International, the Kellogg Foundation, The Southern Growth Policies Board, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Science at the University of Florida. He was a member of the advisory committee on Small Business and Agriculture of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and has addressed legislative committees at the state and federal level on both educational and rural development issues.

Deaton’s leadership in establishing international educational linkages for faculty research and student learning at MU dates back to his work as associate director of the Office of International Development at Virginia Tech. From 1984 to 89, he developed and led international technical assistance programs in Haiti and Zambia in support of USAID programs and conducted research in Grenada and Kenya on agricultural development and nutritional impacts of food aid programs.  He also led workshops on public finance and university funding strategies in Russia and Estonia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  His work with the International Nutrition Commission Service resulted in a co-authored teachers’ manual for international training programs on food, nutrition and agriculture. He lectured on agricultural trade and rural economic development issues in Japan at the request of the Japan International Agriculture Council. He served in Washington, D.C., as staff director of the special task force, Food for Peace, under the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, Bob Bergland.

In 2010, Deaton received an honorary degree from Prince of Songkla University in Thailand for his work on the promotion of global education and collaborative research and good will.  He was granted similar honorary degrees from Chonnam National University in Korea and Kutasi University in the Republic of Georgia.  Deaton’s commitment to international work stems from his Peace Corps service, teaching agriculture in Thai in Nan, Thailand from 1962 to 1964.  Additional volunteer service included summers in Columbia and Ecuador and a year’s service as a Robert F. Kennedy Fellow in Clairfield, Tenn., working to create jobs for an economically depressed region of Appalachia in 1970.

Deaton began his professional career at the University of Tennessee in 1972 after receiving doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin in agricultural economics and a master’s in diplomacy and international commerce and a bachelor’s in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky.  Before moving to MU as chair of the Department of Economics in 1989, he was a faculty member in the agricultural economics departments at the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech where he directed the Title V Rural Development Research and Extension Program.