Birthdays are always special, especially when you can celebrate them with your closest family and friends. But for Leon Boucher, this past birthday was a bit more special, as he recently turned 100 years old! Boucher is a three-time College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences alum, earning degrees in agricultural education in 1942, 1954, and 1964.
Boucher’s career was grounded in educating the next educators, teaching agricultural education at Ohio State from 1964–1984. During that time, he was instrumental in growing the agricultural education program in the Department of Agricultural Education—today, the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL)—at the then College of Agriculture and Home Economics. Boucher was in charge of the entire student teacher program. In those days, student teachers would teach in central Ohio schools; those who excelled would be encouraged to come back to Ohio State to get their PhD and eventually teach within the university. Boucher led continuing education programs and seminars for vocational agriculture teachers to learn new techniques. An avid photographer, he also taught a graduate-level course on new audio/visual teaching practices and photo developing using on-campus dark rooms.
Boucher spent many of his years observing and molding future teachers across Ohio. But when he wasn’t helping form the next generation, he enjoyed all manner of photography, woodworking, and spending time with friends and family. He is a World War II veteran, and he and his late wife, Virginia, spent the early 1960s traveling to developing countries throughout the world. He was also instrumental in developing clean water systems and sustainable agricultural practices.
L.H. Newcomb, ACEL professor emeritus and a former teacher’s assistant, remembers Boucher as being a great academic advisor and that “he had more abilities in the classroom and outside of it. And he just enjoyed life.” The mayor of Hilliard even named a section of the city after him, as documented in this 2013 ThisWeek Community News article.
To celebrate Boucher’s 100 years, ACEL staff members organized a card shower for him from students he advised during his career. Though he may now be listed as emeriti faculty in the Ohio State system, his legacy lives on in the students he taught, and those they taught, forever leaving the mark of an amazing professor on the vocational agriculture education community.