Holz-Clause chosen for state board

By Amber Frias

Mary Holz-Clause, dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Agriculture, has been appointed to a position on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Holz-Clause on Feb. 23 after an anonymous nomination. Holz-Clause was selected among other candidates for the position.

“It is inspiring to work with her,” said Lisa Kessler, interim associate dean of the College of Agriculture. “I have never worked with someone who has so much energy and excellent, creative ideas. She is a true leader. She follows through on her word, and she cares about being successful in our mission and serving the students.

“She is also an expert in the field of agriculture. I learn so much from her every day, and I am impressed with the positive changes she is making for the College of Agriculture.”

Holz-Clause’s position on the board entails making recommendations and policies, which ensure that California’s agriculture remains profitable and that food is accessible for all California residents. She will be representing the California State Universities that have agricultural programs.

“What makes Mary such an outstanding candidate is her tremendous background and dedication to agriculture across the country,” said Craig McNamara, president of the California Board of Food and Agriculture. “She brings a diverse background in agriculture and being a farmer herself, with her husband, brings that resource as well. Both her farm background and her many years dedicated to this industry will make her a great contributor.”

Holz-Clause claims that her engagement in the board will develop a relationship that will allow for more effective outreach and engagement between CPP students and employers.

“On the board there is the head of Driscoll, which is the largest food grower and distributor in the world,” said Holz-Clause. “This will allow our students to access them for internships.”

Holz-Clause’s new position opens doors campus wide.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Cal Poly Pomona to expose what it does to all of the industries and groups that are represented in this board,” said Holz-Clause.

Holz-Clause is the first person from CPP to be on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.

“We are all happy about it, as we view it as a new engagement and opportunity for Cal Poly Pomona to be involved in important issues that affect the quality of life for Californians,” said Kessler.

Holz-Clause feels privileged to be appointed to the board, and agrees that is a position of great responsibility.

“I think it is a great honor to be part of this to make sure that I bring to bear all the resources that the California agricultural universities can bring,” said Holz-Clause.

Holz-Clause has previously served on other state boards before being appointed in California.

Holz-Clause served on Connecticut state boards while being vice president of economic development at the University of Connecticut from 2011 to August 2014. Prior to that, she was also an associate vice president at Iowa State University from 1987 to 2011.

Holz-Clause arrived at CPP last August after being appointed dean. She says that her experience at CPP has been great.

“The students are so engaged with the university,” said Holz-Clause.

Since becoming dean at CPP, Holz-Clause has increased student engagement and involvement.

“She has also increased our involvement with industry which has increased our internship opportunities for students,” said Kessler. “She always seeks to include students and find opportunities for them to be successful in internships and future careers.

“I am excited that she holds this new position, as I believe she will be an excellent addition to improve the state of Agriculture in California. I am proud that she represents all of us in this way.”

She also says that agriculture students at CPP are faced with many open doors due to the amount of business in the region.

“There are great opportunities here in Southern California to develop partnerships particularly with our industry and businesses and companies in the area.”


Tom Zasadzinski / Cal Poly Pomona


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