UF Vice President To Retire In 1998
Donald W. Poucher (352) 392-0437
GAINESVILLE—James M. Davidson, University of Florida vice president for agriculture and natural resources, has announced plans to retire on Jan. 31.
Davidson is the administrative head of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
In a Sept. 22 letter to UF President John Lombardi, Davidson indicated that a new UF/IFAS long-range planning effort and the kickoff of the UF Capital Campaign were major activities that would continue beyond the spring of 1999, when he originally had planned to retire.
“I believe it best to retire now in order to give the next vice president the opportunity to provide leadership for these activities,” Davidson said.
Davidson was named vice president for agriculture and natural resources in 1992 by Lombardi. In that role, he has been responsible for the statewide teaching, research and education programs of UF/IFAS and for the College of Natural Resources and Environment.
Lombardi said Davidson’s leadership earned him the respect and support of Florida’s leaders in agriculture, conservation, government and education. At UF/IFAS, Davidson “helped identify and meet the needs of a changing industry in this rapidly growing state,” Lombardi said.
“The University of Florida and IFAS benefited greatly from his intelligence, hard work and visionary leadership,” Lombardi said. “Jim Davidson surely earned his retirement, but as we will miss him as vice president and faculty member, we will see around us always the tangible contributions of his diplomacy and teamwork.”
From 1979 to 1992, Davidson served as assistant dean and dean for research for UF/IFAS. As dean for research, he was responsible for UF/IFAS research programs in 23 academic departments and 13 research and education centers throughout Florida. As assistant dean, he developed new sources of support for UF/IFAS research programs.
Davidson came to UF/IFAS in 1972, as a visiting associate professor and joined the faculty as a soil science professor in 1974. His research focused on the movement of pesticides and other organic materials through the soil.
He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and is listed in American Men of Sciences; Men of Achievement; Who’s Who in the South; and Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. He has served on national committees investigating groundwater quality, including a committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Davidson previously taught at Oklahoma State University and held laboratory research positions at Oregon State University and University of California, Davis.
At Oregon State University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in soil science in 1956 and a master’s degree in soil physics in 1958. He earned a doctorate in soil physics at the University of California, Davis in 1965.
Davidson and his wife, Peg, plan to remain in Gainesville.
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