By Laura Skillman
LEXINGTON, Ky., (Dec. 14, 2012) – Five distinguished graduates of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture are being inducted Dec. 14 into the inaugural class of the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Fifteen posthumous recipients will also be named.
This year’s inductees are Louis J. Boyd, Maurice Cook, David Switzer, Harold Workman and Joe Wright. These honorees have had outstanding careers and continue to serve as important members of their fields and in their communities.
For nearly 150 years, extraordinary alumni from College of Agriculture have contributed substantially to their chosen fields, their communities and society. To pay homage to these and future distinguished graduates, the college initiated the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. This award is the highest honor the college will bestow. The college’s alumni association spearheaded the formation of this award.
“The Ag and HES Alumni Association is excited to support the establishment of the College of Agriculture Hall of Distinguished Alumni,” said Bill McCloskey, alumni association president. “It is important to recognize and celebrate our alumni that exemplified themselves by making significant contributions to their communities and profession while at the same time proudly representing the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.”
Boyd of Bogart, Ga., began his 41-year career of service to animal agriculture as an extension specialist at UK before moving on to distinguish himself at the University of Tennessee, Michigan State University and the University of Georgia. Under his leadership, external funding for Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Agricultural Experiment Station increased more than four fold. He was instrumental in building the UGA alumni association and college development activities. Throughout his career, he was a mentor to students, student clubs and teams.
Cook, a world-renowned expert in soil and water conservation and a leader in the field of soil science, taught at North Carolina State University for more than 30 years before his retirement in 1992 at the rank of professor. He also served as the director of the North Carolina Division of Soil and Water where he initiated the first-in-the-nation soil and water conservation cost-share program for farmers. Cook also served as senior advisor for agricultural affairs for the state, representing the governor throughout the state and the world on issues of better soil and water conservation management.
Switzer of Lexington is recognized worldwide for his extensive knowledge, experience and accomplishments relating to the horse breeding and racing industries. In addition, he is an acknowledged expert in the field of equine foundation bloodstock and insurance, having owned and operated a bloodstock agency for many years. He promotes the Kentucky Thoroughbred industries locally, nationally and internationally. He played a vital communications role during the Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome crisis in 2001-2002 and led efforts to create an emergency response team from state government and the industry should another such event occur.
Workman of Louisville currently serves as president and chief executive officer for the Kentucky State Fair Board. Thanks to his efforts, the Kentucky Exposition Center is home to several signature events including the North American International Livestock Exposition, the largest purebred livestock show in the world and the National Farm Machinery Show, which ranks as one of Louisville’s top attractions each year generating more than $20 million in annual economic impact. Also under this leadership, the exposition center has been transformed to one of the 10 largest facilities of its type with more than 1.2 million square feet of indoor space.
Wright, a Harned farmer and implement dealer, served as state senator for 16 years and Senate majority leader for 11 years, during which time he helped support the purchase of the college’s Woodford County farm and spearheaded efforts to secure funding for additional college building needs. He is a past president of the Kentucky Burley Growers Cooperative, state fair board member, and Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching member. He served on the Breckinridge County school board, was a founding member of the Kentucky FFA Foundation and is a member of the 2012 Kentucky Tax Reform Commission.
“This recognition is a symbol of the respect and admiration we have for distinguished alumni and serves to encourage exemplary achievements by fellow alumni and current students,” said Scott Smith, dean of the College of Agriculture. “These alumni being inducted into our inaugural class have been outstanding leaders in their professions and in society, and it is our honor to acknowledge those contributions.”
The college will be naming a number of posthumous award recipients during the next three to five years to allow those alumni who have died prior to the initiation the Hall of Distinguished Alumni to also be honored. This year’s posthumous award recipients are Garland Bastin, Smith Broadbent Jr., Thomson Bryant, Patricia Buster, Frank Frazier, Opal Hurley Mann Green, John Heick, James Kabler, Pauline Park Wilson Knapp, Charles A. Mahan, Shirley Phillips, Doris Tichenor, Larry Turner, Mack Whiteker, and Harry Young Jr. Find more information about these honorees at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/alumni.
The College of Agriculture Office for Advancement along with the Ag and HES Alumni Association administers the program.
Writer: Laura Skillman, 859-323-4761
UK College of Agriculture, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.