Chris van Kessel to Receive CA&ES Award of Distinction

September 10, 2015

Professor Chris van Kessel, UC Davis
Professor Chris van Kessel, UC Davis

On Friday, October 2, 2015 the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis will bestow the Awards of Distinction at its 27th annual College Celebration. The event is held each year at harvest time to celebrate the advancement and accomplishments of our college and its impact on agriculture and the environment. The Award of Distinction is the highest recognition presented by the college to individuals whose contributions and achievements enrich the image and reputation of the college and enhance its ability to provide public service.

Among the seven award recipients, the “Outstanding Faculty” award is being presented to Chris van Kessel, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. Van Kessel is an internationally recognized authority on agricultural ecosystems. His effectiveness as an administrator helped galvanize four CA&ES departments into one, and he serves as the founding chair. He is being honored as “Outstanding Faculty” with a CA&ES Award of Distinction.

In December 2004, the departments of Pomology, Environmental Horticulture, Vegetable Crops, and Agronomy and Range Science merged into the Department of Plant Sciences. Van Kessel was chosen to lead the new department with an annual budget of more than $30 million, nearly 75 faculty, 160 graduate students, and more than 50 administrative support staff.

Van Kessel’s research is focused on sustainable cropping systems, with an emphasis on nutrient cycling, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil fertility to optimize agricultural productivity. His publication record includes more than 200 peer-reviewed papers. He also is esteemed as an educator and has mentored 40 graduate students at UC Davis and in Canada, where he worked until 1996 at the University of Saskatchewan.

Van Kessel has served on various editorial boards of international journals and is currently co-editor-in-chief of the journal Field Crops Research. He is a Fellow of the Agronomy Society of America, the Crop Science Society of America, the Soil Science Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For information on the event and to register, go to

Chris van Kessel,, web page

(Article by Ann Filmer, Plant Sciences, UC Davis)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.