Sep 062006
Authors: Vimal Patel The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The highest-ranking career scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency will soon work at CSU, university officials announced Wednesday.

Bill Farland, the deputy assistant administrator for science in the EPA’s Office of Research, is set to begin his job as vice president for research at CSU on Oct. 16.

The scientist’s illustrious career includes nationally-recognized work about ecological damage from the Vietnam War, mercury levels in fish and environmental impacts of Hurricane Katrina during his 27-year stint at the EPA.

But more than anything, Farland is proud of a 500-page report released about 15 years ago titled “The Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking, Lung Cancer and Other Disorders.”

The New Jersey native was the director of the Office of Health and Environmental Assessment in 1992 when the report that highlighted the harmful effects of secondhand smoke was released.

The findings, which were controversial at the time, became more widely accepted as time passed and sparked a spate of local ordinances cracking down on public smoking.

“People took it seriously and communities began to take action,” Farland said from his office in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. “It’s very satisfying to see that the articulation of science had an effect on people’s behavior and public health.”

The EPA is a federal agency charged with protecting human health and the environment, according to its Web site.

Farland also served as director of the Carcinogen Assessment Group and acting director of the Reproductive Effects Assessment Group.

“His proven track record of pulling agencies and people together to solve problems of global importance will continue to move Colorado State – already one of the nation’s premier land-grant institutions – forward,” said CSU President Larry Penley in a statement.

Farland and his wife live on a farm in Virginia, and the 58-year-old spends his time shuttling between the capital and the 30-acre farm.

When he gets to Fort Collins, he plans on downsizing and settling for a house.

And that’s fine with him. It’s the city he was attracted to, not housing.

“It’s a wonderful, well-planned, very clean city,” he said of the city he’ll begin living in next month. “People are extremely friendly and courteous.”

Tony Frank, provost and senior vice president, said a vice president for research has to have three fundamental qualities: He or she has to be a successful scientist, an exceptional administrator and an articulate advocate of research.

And Farland clearly has all three, Frank said.

“Bill’s experience managing a very large budget nationally gives him the experience to run our operation as well,” he said.

The interim vice president for research, Hank Gardner, is set to be the associate vice president for research development.

The university’s research budget is about a quarter of a billion, Frank said, and about a third of CSU’s entire budget runs through the Vice President for Research’s office.

Farland said that although he enjoyed his time and work at the EPA, he has no intention of returning and would enjoy finishing his career at CSU.

“I look at this as a very nice cap on my career.”

News managing editor Vimal Patel can be reached at

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