The History of the UD Agricultural Alumni Association
by Ed Kee ’73, ‘75M
The Agricultural Alumni Association was the first satellite alumni organization formed at the University of Delaware. Established in 1969, after a year of organizational efforts, the Association has always strived to fulfill its purpose as defined by the founding steering committee.
That Agricultural Alumni Steering Committee consisted of 29 interested graduates. Chaired by Earl Tull ’51, the members included Thurman Adams, Jr. ’50, Frank E. Boys ’48, Richard Burke ’34, F. Burton Collins ’42, William R. Conaway ’50, H.W. “Hap” Cook, Jr. ’56, Donald F. Crossan ’50, James Crothers ’58, Frank S. Draper ’60, Edwin Ely ’50, Carlton C. Fifer ’62, Horace Ginn ’48, Richard Harris ’58, Les Lichtenberger ’51, Paul J. Lloyd ’55, Hugh Martin III ’54, Ralph O’Day ’40, Robert Osborne, Jr. ’42, William R. Parker ’67, Edward H. Ralph ’55, Edward Schabinger ’40, Lloyd Sheats ’66, Ronald Smith ’56, Frank Springer, Jr. ’51, Robert Trivits ’55, George K. Vapaa ’37, C. Wesley Webb ’51, and David Woodward ’55.
That committee set out three major purposes in the Association’s Constitution. They are to (i) support the University of Delaware; (ii) support agriculture in the Delmarva area; and (iii) support the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources faculty and staff. It has also been stressed over the years that alumni should have fun while pursuing more serious goals. To that end, the social aspect of the Ag Alumni Association is very important to all the members.
The Association is governed by a Board of Directors that is elected by the membership at the annual dinner and business meeting. It consists of four members from Delaware’s three counties, three members from outside Delaware, and a Secretary-Treasurer who must be an alumnus and a member of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources faculty or professional staff. Les Lichtenberger ’51 was the first President of the organization. Ed Ralph ’55 ‘57M was the original secretary-treasurer and did yeoman work before turning over the responsibilities in 1980.
Soon after the Ag Alumni Association was formed, a scholarship fund was developed. Established in honor of George M. Worrilow, past Dean of the College, the fund has provided significant financial help to as many as three students each year. Also established in Worrilow’s name, is the George M. Worrilow Award, which is presented annually to a College of Agriculture and Natural Resources graduate for outstanding service to agriculture. The Worrilow Award has become the most prestigious agricultural award in Delaware and perhaps on Delmarva.
One of the most significant efforts of the Ag Alumni Association was in supporting the funding and construction of Worrilow Hall. This research and teaching building, adjacent to Townsend Hall (formerly Agricultural Hall), was opened for students in 1981. The Association was instrumental in explaining the need and developing the support among Delaware’s leaders and legislators. The result was one of the finest facilities to accommodate agricultural teaching and research.
With a significant list of accomplishments, a fine tradition of fellowship among ag alumni and their families, and a profound respect for the profession of agriculture, members of the Ag Alumni Association are eagerly looking forward to the future. The organization is living testimony of the support and respect Ag College graduates have for the College and the University.