Dr. R. Rodney Foil, long-time vice president of the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine, has died.
Funeral services were Friday, Feb. 9, at First United Methodist Church, Starkville, Miss. Dr. Foil died Feb. 4 at age 83.
He retired from Mississippi State University in 1999 after 30 years as an administrator. A native of Bogalusa, La., he was a faculty member for 11 years at Louisiana State University before coming to MSU. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forestry at LSU and his Ph.D. in forestry at Duke University.
At MSU, Dr. Foil also served as head of the Department of Forestry and dean of the then School of Forest Resources, as well as associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES). He was named director of MAFES in 1978, and Experiment Station research prospered during his years of leadership. He was named a vice president in 1986.
Dr. Foil garnered a long list of academic and professional honors. He was recognized for contributions by the Society of American Foresters, Mississippi Seedsmen Association, MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, and LSU School of Forestry and Wildlife Management, among others. Following his retirement, he served in the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). He oversaw the CSREES Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems, and served as chair of the CSREES Board of Agriculture. In 2004, he was among the first individuals to be inducted into the CSREES Hall of Fame.
The R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, known by many as the MSU North Farm, is part of his legacy. It is comprised of approximately 750 acres, including 550 acres of tillable land for a variety of research projects in a diverse agricultural community.
Dr. Foil is survived by his wife of 34 years, Rosalind; his children, Jerry Thomas Foil and Allison; his grandchildren, Cheryl, Valerie, Abigail, Phoebe, and Martha; and his son-in-law, Jim, and daughter-in-law, Elvia.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to First United Methodist Church Organ Fund at 200 Lampkin Street, Starkville MS 39759, or the Rosalind and Rodney Foil Teamwork Award at Box 9800, Mississippi State MS 39762; or a charity of the donor’s choice. The Rosalind and Rodney Foil Teamwork Award is given for exemplary collaboration efforts in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.