Typically, I would write about a chill in the air, sunny but shorter days, the first frost and other autumn themes in the October edition. However, on warm days this month, the temperature required shorts and a T-shirt for many.
While the variable rainfall pattern and unusual warmth throw Delaware farmers a curve ball, students in my Sustainable and Organic Farming course enjoy the weather as we spend every Friday on the farm practicing what’s preached in class. They work in teams to produce kale, broccoli, cauliflower or lettuce—all cool season crops. This reinforces the challenges farmers face with weather. As the season turns over Homecoming weekend, we will soon eat kale and lettuce, along with broccoli and cauliflower by Thanksgiving. The grand college tradition of Homecoming falls on the last weekend of October, so it’s a great time to reflect on certain events.
Fall Fest Success! The first ever CANR Fall Fest was a great hit in September. Designed as a “welcome back” event for our students, we hosted over 200 students, faculty and staff on a gorgeous fall afternoon. The menu included UD Fresh to You organic garden produce and UD-raised Angus hamburgers. A great time was had by all. In addition to Grace Wisser, our event coordinator, I am grateful to many who worked hard to develop this event:
- Scott Hopkins and the UD farm team (Richard Morris, Mark Baker, Ron Gouge, Charlie Willis, Albie Nojunas, Sam Reynolds, Rodney Willis, Larry Armstrong and Wayne Bartsch)
- Mike Popovich (UD Fresh to You)
- Chef Carl Zampini and catering team
- Sara Dietz and the sisters of Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority
- Matthew Bogdan and the brothers of Alpha Gamma Rho
- Alpha Zeta
- Agricultural College Council
- Ag Ambassadors
- UD Creamery
- Communications team (Wenbo Fan, Catherine Hamrick, Christy Mannering and Adam Thomas)
By the way, we still have Angus burgers for sale in the Creamery—get ’em while they last!
George M. Worrilow and Distinguished Alumni Awards. Each year at Homecoming, the College recognizes its most distinctive alumni through the presentation of special awards. On Friday, October 28 in the Townsend Commons, we recognized this year’s recipients.
- Gary D. Curl, Class of ’74 B.S, Class of ’76 M.S., Founder and President, Specialty Consultants LLC
- Gary Smith, Class of ’78 B.S., Landscape Architect
- Cynthia M. Stewart, Ph.D., Class of ’91 B.S., Class of ’94 M.S., Global Cultures and Food Protection Technology and Innovation Leader, DuPont Nutrition and Health
Distinguished Young Alumnus:
- Andrew Short, Ph.D., Class of ’02, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas
George M. Worrilow Award:
- Wayne L. Currey, Ph.D., Class of ’65 B.S. and Class of ’67 M.S., Founder and President, Weed Systems, Inc.
Congratulations again to all of these talented and successful alumni! I thank everyone who nominated individuals for these awards and those who worked very hard to organize the event.
Other awards and recognitions
David Townsend elected National FFA president! We are beaming with pride this month as David Townsend, one of our students with double majors in Agriculture and Natural Resources and Plant Science, has been elected President of National FFA. This organization is 650,000 students strong with over 7,800 chapters throughout the U.S. and its territories. David will spend a year in this role, traveling over 100,000 miles to represent FFA to students, teachers, corporate sponsors, politicians and the general public. This is the first time that Delaware has had a national officer in FFA since 1969. Moreover, it’s the only time a Delawarean has assumed the position of FFA President. Way to go, David, and best of luck with your presidency! For more on the story, click here.
The Garden Club of America Commendation. The University of Botanic Gardens (UDBG) and the Plant and Soil Sciences Department jointly received a formal commendation from The Garden Club of America in October:
“GCA 2016 Zone V Horticulture Commendation: In recognition of their longstanding commitment to education of the community and their leadership in the field of horticulture within the zone and nation.”
A special thanks goes out to John Frett, Melinda Zoehrer and others at UDBG, The Garden Club of Wilmington for its nomination, and all of the faculty, staff and students in Plant and Soil Sciences who earned this wonderful recognition!
Annual Extension Awards. The Delaware Cooperative Extension Annual Conference was held on October 26, with joint participation from both University of Delaware and Delaware State University Extension personnel. Their annual Friends of Extension Awards were given to the following people in each of four programmatic areas:
- Ornamental Horticulture: Richard Pratt, Certified Arborist
- Family and Consumer Science: Debra Roney, volunteer
- Agriculture and Natural Resources:
- John W. Thomas, Kent County grain producer
- Arthur O. Tucker, Emeritus Professor, Delaware State University
- 4-H Youth Development:
- The United Way of Delaware
- Rhonda Reynolds, Blessed Givings (family outreach non-profit)
We’re grateful for all of their support of Cooperative Extension over the years and for the way that their efforts complement our work. Congratulations to these well-deserved awardees!
President’s Report on Philanthropy. The 2016 President’s Report on Philanthropy recognizes all UD donors, including the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ community of supporters. Such generosity impacts scholarships, faculty research, facilities and much more. We hope you will join us in acknowledging these generous individuals by clicking here to view the report. On behalf of the College, a sincere thank you to all of our supporters!
Retirements, searches and personnel changes
In the August Blog, I failed to mention that Judy Hough-Goldstein, professor of Entomology, began her retirement sabbatical year and will retire officially in June 2017. Judy worked on biological control of invasive plant species, notably the mile-a-minute weed, and served UD for 35 years. She is also a great fiddle player and frequently played bluegrass music at Ag Day. Hail and well done, Judy; we will miss you!
As Judy and several others retire, we’re working quickly on searches to fill important positions throughout the College.
- In Plant and Soil Sciences, we seek a molecular biologist to work on crop genetics, genomics and related topics. This person will join other CANR faculty located in the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.
- In the same department, we will hire an agronomist with primarily Extension responsibilities early in 2017.
- Accompanying the agronomist will be an Extension entomologist in our Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology. That search is well underway.
- The Department of Applied Economics and Statistics plans to fill three positions in statistics, two predominantly focused on teaching and the other a teaching/research split appointment. These searches, combined with other recent hires in statistics, will renew the statistics side of the department in just three years!
- In Extension, we will shortly announce the next poultry agent who will be housed at the Carvel Center in Georgetown, serving Delaware’s largest agricultural industry. Details will appear in the December Blog.
- At Carvel, Sharon Webb has filled the position of business administrator, replacing Barbara Stephenswho retired this month after 43 years of service. Sharon will keep Mark Isaacs straight. Sharon’s old position will be posted soon. A new lab coordinator will oversee the critical function of our Lasher Laboratory for poultry disease diagnostics.
- We will also fill a business officer position that will be a great asset to Michelle Rodgers in managing the fiscal complexity of Delaware Cooperative Extension.
- Last, we will welcome a new financial coordinator to the dean’s suite in early 2017, as we look to build the personnel infrastructure to support CANR’s position as the third largest College at UD in terms of sponsored programs. I thank all of the faculty and staff who have served on search committees and done the behind the scenes work to bring the best candidates to the CANR family.
Congratulations to staff members who were reclassified recently.
- Mike Popovich, who manages the UD Fresh to You and Garden for the Community enterprises that bring local, organically grown vegetables to both the Newark area and the Food Bank of Delaware, has been reclassified to farm manager. This well-deserved and long overdue reclassification recognizes all that Mike does to enhance teaching, research and Extension in the College.
- Katie Daly was reclassified to academic program manager in recognition of her tireless efforts in recruiting and advising undergraduate students. As tuition dollars provide the majority of the College’s budget, we couldn’t exist without Katie’s efforts and those of her colleagues in Undergraduate Student Services.
I thank Kawkab Rasheed, Kathryn Thoroughgood, Chris Towers and others who prepare and review reclassifications.
UD to grow under Assanis administration
Our 28th president, Dennis Assanis, has been developing plans for the growth of UD as he settles into his new role. The deans and other administrators have met frequently throughout the fall to plan for growth, which includes 1,000 new undergraduate students and a doubling of graduate student numbers within five years. To accommodate such growth, we look to hire 250 new faculty members over the same period.
And we don’t simply want to grow quantitatively; we will endeavor to enhance the quality of our teaching, research and outreach as well. It’s too early to say how we will grow in terms of buildings and infrastructure, but UD’s skyline will clearly change as we bring in more students, faculty and staff. Obviously, this has created a lot of excitement across campus as we imagine new possibilities. Indeed, Delaware will shine in the coming years!
Speaking of shining—the days may be getting shorter, but the sun always rises beautifully over CANR, whatever the season. Happy Homecoming and Happy Halloween. Go Blue Hens!
The Blog will return in December in time for winter break along with a final 2016 roundup of our research in the news. We continue to grow our presence in traditional print and new media. For example, here is a quick snapshot of our September placements. I invite you to follow us on social media!
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