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New animal sciences department head joins Purdue Agriculture leadership team


WEST LAFAYETTE, IN. – Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, has announced that John Blanton has accepted the position of head of the Department of Animal Sciences. He assumed his position effective Monday, February 1.

“Dr. Blanton brings a breadth of experience and proven leadership excellence to the department,” Plaut said. “He comes to us from Mississippi State University, where he has served as professor and department head since 2013. He has built strong relationships with industry and stakeholders throughout his career. He is a results-oriented, energetic leader who knows how to move things forward.”

Blanton, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New Mexico State University, earned his doctoral degree from Purdue University. He praised the education and connections he made while at Purdue and shares his personal connection to the university.

“I received a spectacular education at Purdue, working with amazing scholars and fellow graduate students,” he said. “Purdue is also the place where I met my wife. For all these reasons, Purdue has always been a special place for me.”

Blanton said his original intention was to complete his Ph.D. and work in industry for the remainder of his career. Instead, he has held positions in several universities, private industry and nonprofit research institutions, and owned a company. He said his background has prepared him to be a department head, first at Mississippi State University and now at his alma mater.

“These experiences gave me an understanding of the time constraints and economic pressures that face our colleagues in private industry,” he said. “I also can appreciate the need for independent science that focuses on discovery. I believe that my industry experience has been very useful in the classroom as well. 

I remind my students that as an animal scientist, I am an applied biologist. I want the work I am involved with to improve stakeholder lives.”