UM Hires New College of Humanities and Sciences Dean

A picture of Larry Hufford
Larry Hufford

MISSOULA – After a national search, the University of Montana has hired Dr. Larry Hufford to become the next dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences.

Hufford is the Herbert L. Eastlick Distinguished Professor at Washington State University, where he directs the Marion Ownbey Herbarium and the Conner Museum of Natural History. He will start his new duties at UM on July 1.

“I see considerable strengths in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and I am excited at the prospect as I look ahead,” Hufford said. “The UM faculty in humanities and sciences are incredibly talented and committed, and I look forward to my work with them. There is tremendous potential for innovations to heighten student experiences and success.”

Hufford will replace Interim Dean Jenny McNulty, who has led the college since fall 2018, when former Dean Christopher Comer stepped down to rejoin the faculty.

“I want to thank Jenny McNulty for her outstanding service over two years as interim dean,” UM Provost Jon Harbor said. “I also want to commend Tim Nichols, our Davidson Honors College dean, who chaired the search, and the other members of the search committee for their thoughtful work and recommendations.”

Originally from Iowa, Hufford has lived in the West during most of his adult life. He earned his doctorate in botany from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986. After postdoctoral research experiences at the University of Zurich and the University of Arizona, he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1989 and then moved to WSU in 1993.

Hufford has held various academic leadership positions at WSU, including seven years as director of the School of Biological Sciences (2010-17). He also was interim director of the School of the Environment (2016-17) and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (2018).

As an academic leader, he has broad experience in program innovation, student success and faculty development. Hufford helped lead 2011-12 planning for the development of a new WSU College of Arts and Sciences. In 2015, Hufford was the recipient of both the Outstanding Chair/Director Award and the Excellence in Institutional Service Award from the WSU College of Arts and Sciences.

As an evolutionary biologist, his research has focused on plant diversity in the American West. Hufford is an avid reader with wide-ranging interests in the arts, humanities and sciences.

“Dr. Hufford presented a compelling vision for the future of the humanities and sciences at UM throughout the interview process,” Harbor said. “Please join me in congratulating him on this appointment and in welcoming him to UM this summer.”


Contact: Jon Harbor, UM executive vice president and provost, 406-243-4689,