Westerman joined the OSU faculty as a member of the department of agronomy in 1976 and was named department head in 1991, a post he held through its reorganization into the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, before his eventual promotion to Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station administration in 2001.
“His direction and guidance to me as a mentor and the wheat industry as a whole will assuredly be missed,” said Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.
Westerman — whose career has encompassed all three aspects of the land-grant mission of teaching, research and extension work — points out that one of the most constant changes over the years has been the increasingly intertwined aspect of scientific and academic disciplines.
“We’re very proud of the division’s record in providing cutting-edge advances in what people think of as traditional agricultural endeavors,” he said.
“But we, like a number of our agricultural peers, have become equally involved in fields such as medicine, energy, homeland security, forensics and natural resource management.”
The cliche about it being a “brave new world” has always held true for OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Westerman said, with the “world” literally changing with each new significant scientific discovery or advance in technology.
“One of the things of which I’m most proud is that we in the division are able to make a positive difference in the lives of people, their families and their communities,” Westerman said.
Prior to joining the OSU faculty, Westerman served on the faculty of the University of Arizona.
He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master of science from OSU. He earned a doctoral degree in soil fertility-chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1969, following a three-year stint in the U.S. Army as a platoon leader.
Donald Stotts is a communications specialist for OSU.