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Auburn University horticulture professor Joe Eakes has been named interim head of the Department of Horticulture, as announced by College of Agriculture Dean Bill Bachelor. Eakes assumed the role Sept. 5 and will serve in the position until a new department head is selected. An alumnus of the department he now leads, Eakes joined the Auburn horticulture faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor and was promoted associate professor in 1994 and full professor in 2000. In 2010, he was awarded the Jimmy and Chris Pursell Endowed Professorship of Horticulture at Auburn. He fills the role most recently held by horticulture professor Jeff Sibley, who has returned full time to his faculty position in the department.