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Texas Tech announces appointment of CASNR Interim Dean

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Bill Marcy announced Friday that John M. Burns will serve as interim dean of the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Burns, himself a former Texas Tech provost, will oversee one of the 30 largest agricultural programs in the country as the college seeks a new dean to fill the position vacated by the retirement of Marvin Cepica.

Extensive Experience. Marcy used feedback solicited from faculty, staff and others familiar with the college to select from among nominees and said he wanted an interim dean who could quickly assume administrative duties and oversee college initiatives during its transition.

“With his extensive experience as provost and, before that, as chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, John Burns will have no difficulty whatsoever in assuming these duties,” he said. “And, perhaps even more importantly, Burns has a history of working with faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, which made him a good candidate for ensuring that the college has continued success in its academic and research programs.”

Former Provost. Burns was provost of Texas Tech from 1997-2001, when he resigned the position to return to classroom teaching. As provost, Burns oversaw all academic programs.

A faculty member at Texas Tech since 1969, Burns was chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from 1987 to 1995. He then served as vice provost for academic affairs until his appointment as interim provost in 1996.

Outstanding Teacher. “Serving as interim dean for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is a challenge that I am looking forward to,” Burns said. “I have always admired the programs in the college and I have worked in various capacities with the faculty there for 39 years, so it is a college that I know fairly well.”

Burns has received seven outstanding teaching awards and has chaired a variety of university committees during his tenure at Texas Tech. In 1988, he was named an Outstanding Centennial Alumnus of the College of Arts and Sciences of New Mexico State University.

CASNR’s Growth. Cepica retired Aug. 31 after three decades with Texas Tech University in a variety of academic and administrative posts.

As dean, Cepica oversaw the academic lives of more than 1,400 graduate and undergraduate students. Under his leadership, the college’s endowment fund increased to $32 million and he presided over the dedication of a new state-of-the-art $17 million Animal and Food Sciences building.

– Cory Chandler

CONTACT: Bill Marcy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2184, or


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