President, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Sonny Ramaswamy is president of Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Sonny served for six years as President Barack Obama’s appointee as the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington, DC. NIFA catalyzes transformative discoveries, education, and engagement to solve societal and agricultural challenges.
Previously, Sonny served as dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, director of Purdue’s Agricultural Research Programs, university distinguished professor and head of the entomology department at Kansas State University, and professor of entomology at Mississippi State University.
As a faculty member, Sonny’s research was funded with grants from federal agencies, including NIFA, NSF, NIH, EPA, and USAID, and from state agencies, commodity groups, and industry. He has published over 150 journal articles, book chapters, and a book, and has a patent. Sonny is the recipient of several awards and honors, including Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the Entomological Society of America, Food Systems Leadership Award for Extraordinary Impacts on Food Systems, the Ellen Swallow Richards Public Service Award for Visionary Leadership and Exceptional Contributions to Advance the Human Sciences, and Hutchinson Medal from the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Sonny’s BSc (Ag) in agriculture and MSc (Ag) in entomology are from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India. Following his doctorate in entomology from Rutgers University, Sonny undertook postdoctoral research at Michigan State University. He is also a graduate of the Management Development Program from Harvard University.