Meet the Dean

Keith L. Belli was named dean of Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences (CAFLS) Sept. 1, 2018, shortly after the college was reorganized to include Cooperative Extension and the university’s six Research and Education Centers.

In collaboration with associate deans of undergraduate studies, research, and outreach and engagement, Dean Belli works to ensure that CAFLS remains true to its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach and to founder Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of a high seminary of learning focused on addressing the needs of the state and ensuring that South Carolina citizens benefit from a workforce educated in the agricultural and natural resources sciences.

During Dr. Belli’s tenure as dean, he has worked to create a culture where CAFLS’ academics, research and Extension components act seamlessly, efficiently and effectively to prepare students to become leaders in their chosen careers and to leverage the college’s state-wide research and Extension infrastructure in support of a South Carolina agribusiness industry with a $42 billion annual economic impact and to help South Carolinians lead healthy and prosperous lives.

Together with CAFLS administrators, faculty and staff, Dean Belli is working to implement a 2026 CAFLS Strategic Plan focused on strengthening the college in a number of areas, including graduate student programs, research quality and impact, statewide knowledge delivery, multi-institutional collaboration, physical infrastructure, and diversity and inclusion.

Dean Belli also works to reinforce partnerships with state and federal agencies including S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control; S.C. Department of Natural Resources; S.C. Department of Agriculture; S.C. Forestry Commission; Forestry Association of S.C.; S.C. Farm Bureau; U.S. Department of Agriculture; National Institute of Food and Agriculture and others.

In addition to his duties as dean, Dr. Belli serves as Associate Vice-President of Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture, a state agency comprised of regulatory units that safeguard the health and safety of livestock, poultry and companion animals, protect the food supply and public health of South Carolinians and ensure the safe, effective use of fertilizers and pesticides, the quality of seeds and plants grown in the state and conducts programs that prevent agroterrorism.

Dr. Belli came to CAFLS from the University of Tennessee where he headed the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Prior to his time at Tennessee, he spent 18 years at Mississippi State University where he progressed from professor to Associate Dean of the College of Forest Resources.

Belli holds a Bachelor of Science in forest science from Pennsylvania State University, Master of Science in silviculture from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in forest biometrics from the University of Minnesota, all three land-grant institutions.