The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday appointed sole finalists Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., as director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Rick Avery, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Lamb and Avery have served in interim roles since January.

“Both Drs. Lamb and Avery bring unique experience and expertise to these key director positions at Texas A&M AgriLife,” said Mark Hussey, Ph.D., interim vice chancellor and dean, Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Our premier state research and extension agencies are positioned to continue to meet the challenges and needs of Texans and will benefit greatly from these two leaders.”

Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Animal science and research leader

Lamb has served as the head of the Department of Animal Science since 2017. Under his leadership, the department has dramatically increased its research portfolio. Lamb also has been successful in securing philanthropic funds to support animal science priorities.

Formerly, Lamb served as the assistant director and professor at the University of Florida-North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Fla.

Lamb grew up on a cattle operation in Zimbabwe. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science at Middle Tennessee State University followed by his master’s degree and doctorate in reproductive physiology at Kansas State University.

Government relations background, deep Texas roots

Rick Avery, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
Rick Avery, Ph.D., director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Avery brings extensive backgrounds in government relations and in government. Avery’s Capitol Hill experience includes serving as an assistant to U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and U.S. Rep. Greg Laughlin. His career also includes serving as county relations officer for the Texas Association of Counties, where he worked with elected and appointed county officials in all 254 Texas counties, providing support, continuing education and resource guidance to government operations. Most recently, he served as deputy director of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.

At Texas A&M AgriLife, Avery previously served as the V.G. Young Institute director and AgriLife Extension specialist to provide continuing education to approximately 1,500 county officials annually through Institute schools.

Avery earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Austin College and Texas A&M University, respectively. He earned a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M.

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