Mary Holz-Clause, the University of Connecticut’s first vice president for economic development, will serve as the College of Agriculture’s next dean. She begins her new post on Monday, July 28th.
Holz-Clause comes to Cal Poly Pomona with an extensive background in agricultural and economic development. Her career has included serving in government and academia and also running her own farm business.
“Mary has the vision, knowledge and experience to lead our College of Agriculture,” Provost Marten denBoer says. “The college has a wide range of opportunities and programs that go well beyond traditional production agriculture and will benefit from Mary’s creativity, entrepreneurship, and business acumen.”
“I am honored to lead the college that represents the diverse facets of agriculture in Southern California,” Holz-Clause says. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students and learning about their experiences.”
Holz-Clause will replace Les Young, who is retiring as the College of Agriculture’s dean in September.
In 2011, she was named UConn’s first vice president for economic development, where she led the university’s economic growth initiatives. Her work there included forming an economic development office and overseeing programming for the UConn Technology Park, a state-of-the-art $200 million facility that focuses on advanced manufacturing.
Prior to UConn, Holz-Clause spent 25 years at Iowa State University in a variety of capacities, starting in business development and rising to serve as associate vice president of extension and outreach and director of global programs.
She was responsible for an annual budget of $100 million and oversaw 700 employees. She also created the Global Extension Academy, which trained educators to help farmers in other countries learn about new agricultural practices.
In 2002, Holz-Clause founded and managed the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, a multi-university consortium that created an online collection of critical production, technology and business development information on the changing landscape of U.S. agriculture.
In addition, she developed a “value-added” agriculture program that fosters economic development by helping small farmers and rural communities with market development, business development, and supply-chain support. Holz-Clause also taught classes in economic development, business and community planning, often working with non-traditional students.
Before entering academia, she worked as a research director and a trade mission coordinator with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, assisting export opportunities for Iowa businesses. She also taught vocational agriculture in the East Greene Community Schools in Iowa.
Dr. Holz-Clause earned her Ph.D. in agriculture education, specializing in extension programs, from Iowa State University, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and a master’s degree in public administration.
She and her husband have a multi-generational farm growing corn and soybeans and have a cattle feedlot in Iowa.