Eva Pell to give College of Earth and Mineral Sciences commencement address

Eva J. Pell, recently retired under secretary for science at the Smithsonian Institution and former Penn State senior vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, will deliver the commencement address at College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ baccalaureate degrees program ceremony. The College’s spring 2014 commencement will be held on Friday, May 9 at 8 p.m. in the Eisenhower Auditorium on the University Park campus.

Pell spent nearly four decades at Penn State before leaving to work as the under secretary of science for the Smithsonian Institution in Jan. 2010. As under secretary, she oversaw operations of the Smithsonian’s science museums, research centers and the National Zoo. In her efforts to foster and increase scientific research at the Smithsonian, Pell led the creation of the four “Grand Challenges Consortia” that develop interdisciplinary collaborations across the Smithsonian.

Pell earned a bachelor of science in biology from City College of the City University of New York in 1968 and a doctorate in plant biology from Rutgers University in 1972. Pell joined Penn State in 1973 as an assistant professor of plant pathology. She was named distinguished professor of plant pathology in 1991 and was named the John and Nancy Steimer Professor of Agricultural Sciences in 1995. 

From Jan. 2000 to Dec. 2009, she served as the senior vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. When Pell took over the research office, research expenditures were $393 million. During the decade of her tenure, the University’s expenditures nearly doubled: in the 2008-09 academic year research expenditures reached $765 million. This garnered the University a ninth-place ranking nationally among all public and private universities in research and development

A recipient of grants totaling more than $7 million and the author or co-author of more than 100 publications and 65 abstracts, Pell is recognized internationally for her research in the field of plant pathology. Her research focused on the impact of air pollutants on vegetation and spanned from the molecular to the ecophysiological. In recognition of leadership in her field, Pell was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2003. 

Degrees are to be conferred on nearly 400 students.

For more information, contact Martha Traverse at mjt5@psu.edu or visit http://www.ems.psu.edu/current_undergrad_students/graduation_info online.

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Last Updated May 07, 2014