Dr. Scifres, 62, was named to his Agriculture Program executive positions on Jan. 1, 2001. He was formerly dean of agricultural, food and life sciences at the University of Arkansas.

"Charlie was a key member of our leadership team," said Ed Hiler, Texas A&M vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences and director of the Experiment Station. "All of us will deeply miss his leadership, his wonderful attitude, and his tremendous contributions to TAES and the Agriculture Program."

Hiler noted that Scifres had excellent academic credentials as a research scientist and that he had successfully led experiment stations in both Oklahoma and Arkansas. His career began at Texas A&M, where he served on the faculty from 1969 to 1987.

At the time of his death, Scifres was responsible for statewide oversight and management of the Experiment Station's agricultural research programs throughout Texas. The Experiment Station has more than 460 scientists in 17 academic departments at Texas A&M, 14 regional research and extension centers, and at other state and A&M System universities.

At the University of Arkansas, Scifres served as the lead administrator for both academic programs in the College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and for the statewide Experiment Station research system.

He is credited with restructuring the Arkansas college's academic departments, establishing a distance education program and helping build an effective development program.

Before his tenure in Arkansas, Scifres spent seven years at Oklahoma State University, first as professor and head of the agronomy department. From 1990 to 1994, he was associate director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.

In his first stint with Texas A&M, Scifres rose from assistant professor to full professor in seven years, and, in 1982, became the first Thomas M. O'Connor Professor of Range Science, a post he held for five years until his appointment at Oklahoma State.

Scifres authored two books on range improvement and fire ecology and published nearly 150 articles in his field. He has long been an advocate of integrated brush management systems and their ecological impacts. He led an interdisciplinary research team that studied a spectrum of economic, environmental and managerial aspects of range ecosystems in South Texas.

Scifres held bachelor's and master's degrees from Oklahoma State. He earned his doctorate in agronomy (weed science and grazing lands) at the University of Nebraska in 1969.

He is survived by his wife, Julia, of College Station; son, Dirk, and daughter-in-law, Vickie Scifres, of College Station; daughter, Holly, and son-in-law, Thomas Wooton of Belgium, and four grandchildren.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com