UD’s Morgan honored for service to agriculture
DOVER, Del. — Dr. Robin Morgan, University of Delaware provost and past dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, received the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture at the 48th annual Delaware Agriculture Industry Dinner Jan. 24.
In presenting the award, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse, repeatedly referenced Morgan’s “can-do attitude” especially during the 2004 avian influenza crisis on Delmarva.
“Avian influenza had never ever been stopped before and because of Robin’s work and the work of the team at the University of Delaware we were able to stop that in its tracks and we got national and international recognition for it and it’s because of that lady right there,” Scuse said.
Morgan said in her remarks that 2004 was “the hardest year of my career” but the results of that intense work have been worthwhile.
“In that year there were so many of us that stepped up … and we’ve become lifelong friends,” Morgan said. “You never get over trying to solve a problem that serious.”
Scuse said through her work at UD, Morgan has been a mentor to students pursuing careers in agriculture
“She’s made a difference in the lives of young people from 4-H to middle and high school students in ag science education to college students she interacts with on a daily basis,” he said.“Students today are no longer going to college just to learn about husbandry and crop production. They’re learning skills to use in brand new careers in agriculture that didn’t even exist when tonight’s recipient joined the University Delaware in 1985 as an assistant professor of animal and food sciences. She’s enabled and helped move education forward at the University of Delaware to helps students be employable.”
But Morgan told the crowd of more than 400 that it was the state’s farmers and UD staff when she started at the university in 1985 that sparked her interest in agriculture.
“When I came to Delaware I thought a broiler was a part of my oven,” she said, garnering laughter from the crowd. “Many, many people worked to help me understand agriculture. I was a microbiologist and somewhere along the way I started caring so much about the people who raised food. I loved being in the lab and doing hybrid sequencing on the one hand and having someone walk into my lab with a sick chicken and say ‘Can you help?’ That combination is amazing.”
Prior to being named the university’s first woman provost in 2018, Morgan was chairperson of the university’s Department of Biological Sciences, but her career at the University began in 1985 when she joined the Department of Animal and Food Sciences as an assistant professor. She became an associate professor in 1991 and a full professor in 1996, and has held a joint faculty appointment with the Department of Biological Sciences for many years.
In 2001, Morgan was named acting dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a role she took over officially the following year.
After 11 years leading the college, she became the interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for two years before being named chairperson in 2016.
Morgan earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Meredith College and her Ph.D. in biology from The Johns Hopkins University. She also did postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley.
She has been involved in cancer research since entering graduate school at Johns Hopkins in 1977. Since joining the faculty of the University of Delaware, she has worked on Marek’s disease, a herpesvirus-induced T-cell lymphoma of chickens. Her lab has studied how Marek’s disease virus induces T-cell lymphomas and how vaccines protect against tumor formation.
Among many other association boards, Morgan has served on the Board of Directors of Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Horticulture and the Delaware Council of Farm Organizations, which holds the annual agriculture industry dinner.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925