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Purdue Northwest Pioneer

Dean named for Department of Engineering, Sciences

Ronny Bonnell, News Writer

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PNW recently named Kenneth Chris Holford the new dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences.

Holford was previously the dean of the College of Science and chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at the former Purdue North Central for 16 of his 25 years in higher education.

Ralph O. Mueller, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, said Holford’s experience as an administrator and his knowledge of the two campuses made him a suitable candidate for the job. Mueller said 30 applications were considered before being narrowed down to 10 and eventually a final three.

“He was one of three finalists. His commitment to undergraduate success and faculty development made him stand out,” Mueller said.

Holford said he plans to ensure new undergraduate and graduate opportunities, open and reinforce undergraduate student grants, establish and support co-curricular activities for both campuses and assist in completing the unification process.

“The unification of campuses allows students to take classes over again without setting them back through its alternating course schedule,” Holford said.

Holford believes that through unification, opportunities for better competition will arise for both campuses as the number of sports teams grow significantly.

“I want to be up there with the bigger ‘well-known’ competitive schools,” Holford said. “I had an opportunity in my junior and senior year in college to do work with a faculty member that led to graduate school.”

The opportunity provided Holford, who received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Augustana College in Illinois, to acquire a master’s degree in zoology from Southern Illinois University and a doctorate in endocrine systems for animals from Illinois State University.

His passion for nature and biology led Holford, who enjoys working with animals, to land a position teaching cell biology at the former PNC.

Holford said he remembers the important role hands-on learning played when he was receiving his education as opposed to strictly learning from lectures, so he encourages hands-on learning within co-curricular activities through friendly competition.

During Holford’s spare time, he enjoys expressing his passion for competition by attending games and tournaments regularly and watching his favorite Major League Soccer team, the Chicago Fire.

“I’ve been to a competition for every [PNW] sports team that has had a season so far,” Holford said.

Along with his interest in competition, he maintains a never-ending love for animals and nature. He’s also an avid fisherman who enjoys traveling to Canada and Michigan in search of musky to catch.

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