Since 2008, Russin had been the associate vice chancellor and associate director before his appointment as interim.
“With the continuing budget crisis in higher education, which will extend well into the next two years, it is imperative that we have a leader who understands the breadth and depth of our research programs. As the interim vice chancellor, Dr. Russin has proved to be an effective leader,” said Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter chancellor.
Russin first came to the AgCenter in 1984 as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Entomology, having completed his Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of Kentucky-Lexington. In 1989, he joined Crop Genetics International in Hanover, Md., as a plant pathologist.
In 1991, he moved back to Baton Rouge as an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology, where he remained until 1998, having been promoted to associate professor. He then went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale as an associate professor. He was promoted to professor, then chairman of the Department of Plant, Soils and Agricultural Systems. He became associate dean for research in the College of Agricultural Sciences in 2004.
In addition to many academic honors, he has served as science adviser for the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research. He helped establish the Illinois Soybean Center, a public/private partnership to promote research and education, and the Afghanistan Water, Agriculture and Technology Transfer Program to aid in the re-establishment of agriculture infrastructure in that country.
One of Russin’s most recent achievements since returning to the AgCenter is the establishment of the Louisiana Biofuels and Bioprocessing Institute. This institute brings together research related to this industry and promotes collaboration and increased funding for more research and extension programming. The institute was initially approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents in 2010 and given a five-year extension in January 2011. The Regents provide no funding.