On April 2, Craig Nessler received the annual leadership award from the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, which recognizes “those who have served the Southern Experiment Stations, SAAESD, and the national Land-Grant System with exemplary distinction.”
Nessler, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, has held many leadership positions at SAAESD, including chair, and has served on numerous committees within the organization.
“Dr. Nessler is one of the most valued and respected members of SAAESD,” wrote Richard A. Roeder, associate director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, in a letter supporting Nessler’s nomination. “I consider Dr. Nessler to be a friend, colleague, and someone from whom I would seek advice.”
The award was presented to Nessler in Savannah, Ga. during a meeting of the directors of fifteen agricultural experiment stations.
Nessler’s career began at Texas A&M University in 1979, when he joined its faculty as an assistant professor of biology. He left for Virginia Tech in 2000 and eventually became director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. Nessler returned to College Station in 2009 as director of AgriLife Research.
At both institutions, Nessler has been highly effective at promoting agricultural research. Before Nessler left Virginia Tech, the National Science Foundation ranked it fifth among higher education institutions for research expenditures in the agricultural sciences. The Texas A&M University System stood at eighth place. After Nessler’s move to AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M University System rose to the fourth place. The most recent ranking placed the A&M System in the No. 1 spot.
“This ranking is not about being No. 1 just to be No. 1,” Nessler said to an AgriLife Today reporter. “It’s about positively impacting the lives of Texans, our fellow citizens across the nation and people worldwide with important scientific discoveries in agriculture.”
Nessler “leads by example and is a consensus-builder,” wrote Clarence E. Watson, director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, in support of Nessler’s nomination. “I have benefitted greatly from my association with Craig Nessler.”