Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire — known for his experience in urban water conservation, research, community and
industry support — was named the new dean of Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and
Technology at Fresno State, beginning Sept. 15.
St. Hilaire previously spent 24 years in the New Mexico Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
State University, where he served as president since June 2016 while overseeing the extension department since
“I am happy and excited to welcome Dean St. Hilaire. I am convinced that it will consolidate the position of the
Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology as the undisputed agricultural leader,” said Fresno State
President Saul Jiménez-Sandoval. “His vision of agriculture is deeply rooted in community and industry
relationships and strategic planning, and focuses on strengthening research, innovation and
subsidies. Dr. St. Hilaire has demonstrated a special rapport with members of the community and industry who will be
essential to help our university shape the next generation of agricultural leaders, nurture and clothe our growth
region and around the world, and ensure our successful and productive future.
St. Hilaire was named a Regents Professor, New Mexico State’s highest faculty honor, in 2020 for his
outstanding contributions and services. Under his leadership, the department increased its student recruitment,
enrollment, mentorship, and retention, as well as faculty support, research, and fundraising efforts.
He also received the New Mexico State Campus Research and Discovery Award for his nationally recognized urban work.
environmental water conservation efforts. As a faculty member, he taught courses related to plant environment
biology, ornamental plants and landscaping, irrigation and maintenance. His research has been related to
advanced sensing techniques in cropping systems, plant molecular ecophysiology and land cover mapping.
“I am happy to join the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, which has a deep and
extensive connections in the nation’s leading farming community,” St. Hilaire said. “Fresno State has
transformed the lives of his constituents. I envision that Jordan College will continue its transformation
journey that will benefit today’s agricultural leaders.
His vision and management experience have been tapped into leadership roles on the New Mexico State Strategic Planning Committee and as chair of its Institutional Review Board. Since 2003, he has served as director of the New Mexico State Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program which pairs minority high school students for summer internships with science, technology, engineering and of mathematics.
St. Hilaire fostered the development of the Southwest Harvest for Health program which partnered with Extension’s master gardener programs and an area cancer center.
He is also a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science, a National Board Member, and a State Member.
Member of the Council of Landscape Architects.
St. Hilaire succeeds Dr. Dennis Nef, who is retiring after assuming the role of Dean in July 2019. Nef guided
Fresno State in prior administrative roles from 2003 to 2019, including as Vice Rector, Acting Rector and
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies. He began his 39-year career at Fresno State as an agricultural business
faculty, and later served as department chair, associate dean, and acting dean before his recent return as
The transition coincides with another milestone in 2002 — the 100th anniversary of the first agricultural campus
Classes. Today, Jordan College’s 2,000 students receive practical training in six departments, three
research centers and a 1,000-acre university agricultural laboratory that serve the techniques and
Prior to Saint Hilaire’s arrival at the Hispanic Institution of Las Cruces, Mexico, he earned his Ph.D.
graduated from Iowa State in 1998 and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Puerto Rico,
Mayaguez. Each degree was in the field of horticulture and he received the best in class award from his department.
as a first cycle.
He also received a general education in agriculture at the University of Trinidad and Tobago in its eastern Caribbean.
Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. His learning experience about livestock, plant products and the farm
management will be asked to help coordinate the 19 units of the Fresno State Farm used for teaching, research
and industry and community outreach efforts.
“I feel honored to be the next Dean of Jordan College and, at the same time, I am extremely excited to join
great team at Fresno State,” St. Hilaire said.