CFAES Connect: June 2016

  1. Beck and Fisher recognized for generosity and service

    Congratulations to Sonny Beck and Jack Fisher, who recently received awards at the 2016 National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association’s (NAADA) Annual Conference.

    At an awards banquet held in Asheville, N. C., approximately 250 people saw both donors recognized for their continual support of The Ohio State University and of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

    Jack is the first of our college’s alumni to receive NAADA’s Volunteer Service Award and Sonny received the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist award.

    The Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals who have given their time to further the goals of their institutions, and have demonstrated leadership and organizational skills to inspire and encourage others to further the success of their alma mater’s agriculture and alumni programs.

    For nearly 50 years, Jack has served Ohio State in almost every manner possible. Jack has dedicated his time, energy and talents to advocate for Ohio State students and programs. Jack is a former member of Ohio State’s Board of Trustees, where he engaged in critical dialogue about the future of the college. In his current role as co-chair for the But for Ohio State campaign, he is leading the college in $150 million fundraising efforts. He was instrumental in advocating for construction of the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, and his commitment to engage the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation membership in raising funds and awareness for the importance of the facility played a significant role in the project’s overall success. 

    Jack has been recognized for his loyal support through membership of Ohio State's President’s Club and Department of Animal Science Hall of Fame. Jack was awarded the college’s Distinguished Service Award and the Dan L. Heinlen Award in 2015. He holds the Ohio FFA Honorary State Farmer Degree and was named to the National FFA Honorary American Farmer Degree in 2005.

    Along with his wife, Judy, Jack has given not only of his talent and time, but has also established an endowment in the college to support a minimum of three students annually who are studying agriculture at Ohio State.

    Sonny Beck, benefactor of two land-grant institutions – Ohio State and Purdue University -- was recognized with the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist award.

    The award recognizes those with a record of sustained giving to support agriculture, agricultural higher education, Cooperative Extension, or land grant universities. This award also recognizes individuals for their role as an advocate for agriculture and natural resources and for their philanthropy in community organizations, religious institutions, art, environment and social services.

    Throughout his life, Sonny Beck has embodied service, integrity, and philanthropy.  The Beck family founded Beck’s Hybrids in Hamilton County, IN in 1937.  Over the next 79 years they transformed the company into the largest family-owned seed company in the United States. Beck’s Hybrids Inc. now has 13 locations and its products can be found in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Tennessee.  An alumnus of Purdue University, Sonny joined Beck’s in 1964. In keeping with the spirit of the Land Grant philosophy, he started the Beck’s Practical Farm Research Program.  The mission of this program is to add profitability to the farming industry through sharing the results of agronomic research conducted at Beck’s locations.  The PFR program is unique in the industry and is a testament to Sonny’s commitment to serve the farming community through the sharing of knowledge.

    At Ohio State, Sonny and the Beck family made a major gift to the college’s Field to Faucet water quality initiative in 2015.  This gift made possible a large scale research project that seeks solutions to the pressing water quality problems that the agricultural community currently faces.  This gift also makes Beck’s one of the first presenting sponsors of the university’s Farm Science Review event.

    Sonny is not only an astute businessman and generous philanthropist, but also an advocate for agriculture and agricultural higher education.  

    NAADA is an organization with more than 350 professionals from around the country committed to the advancement of agricultural and related sciences at more than 40 higher education institutions

    NAADA provides education, support and recognition for individuals dedicated to expanding resources for land-grant and other colleges of agricultural sciences and related programs. 

  2. Please join the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at the Ohio State Fair on Tuesday, August 2

    Stop by the Ohio State Fair to meet students and staff from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences on Tuesday, August 2 for a special CFAES alumni, friends and future student experience.  CFAES has a booth within the “Land and Living” exhibit presented by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Nationwide.  The "Land and Living" exhibit is located east of the giant slide and across from the south entrance to the midway.   The fair is located in Columbus, Ohio.

    All CFAES alumni who stop by the CFAES booth on Tuesday, August 2nd during the fair and enter their name into a drawing will have the opportunity to win a set of football tickets to the Homecoming Football game and CFAES Fallfest.  The winner will be notified after the fair. 

    Additionally, families or students interested in learning more about visiting Ohio State and the College can pick-up information about our majors as well as our visit opportunities in the booth.  Please encourage future students interested in learning more about our college to stop by the "Land and Living" exhibit!

    CFAES will be hosting Commodity Carnival in partnership with the National 4-H Council and the CME Group, the world’s leading futures exchange.  We encourage you to bring your children to engage in these fun, educational activities.  To read more about the Commodity Carnival, please visit this website.   The Commodity Carnival runs the duration of the fair, July 27 –August 7, 2016.

    We hope you will come see us. For more information about the Ohio State Fair and admission, please visit

  3. You're Invited: CFAES Reception in Chicago!

    Join in on a celebration of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and reconnect with alumni and friends in Chicago this month.

    The reception is 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 17 inside the Adams Room at the Palmer House Hilton, 17 East Monroe St., in Chicago.

    Hear from Dr. Sheryl Barringer, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology, about the college's future initiatives in that field.

    This event is in partnership with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo.

    RSVP by July 5 to or 614-292-8635. Please include first and last names for you and  your guest.

  4. Nominations Open for the Food Science and Technology Hall of Distinction

    Be a part of highlighting the success and service of Department of Food Science and Technology alumni and nominate someone today for the Hall of Distinction.

    Established in 2013, the Hall of Distinction seeks to recognize graduates and friends of the Department of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University who have made significant contributions to the food science and technology profession.

  5. You’re invited: Horticulture and Crop Science Cultivate’16 reception

    Join fellow Horticulture and Crop Science alumni and friends for a reception at the Chadwick Arboretum.  Reconnect with friends and colleagues, experience this year’s annuals trials and visit with faculty and staff. This event is in partnership with the Cultivate’16 event, the largest all-industry horticulture trade show in North America. If you would like to learn more about the Cultivate’16 Event, please visit

    5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 11, 2016

    Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens
    Reception is located outside of Howlett Hall
    2001 Fyffe Court, Columbus, Ohio 43210

    Celebration of CFAES and Cultivate’16: An AmericanHort Experience. Food and beverages will be served.

    Attire is Buckeye Business Casual

    RSVP by July 5 to or 614-292-0473. Respond with first and last name of you and your guest. Space is limited.

  6. Homecoming 2016: Save The Date!

    Save the date for the 2016 Homecoming Weekend and CFAES Fallfest, September 30 through October 2! We invite you to come back to campus and celebrate your Ohio State experience. 

    Homecoming Weekend is an ideal time to connect with your alma mater and the classmates who made your time here so memorable. Visit this summer for more information, a schedule of events, and hotel rates.

    Additional information will be posted as it becomes available. To stay connected or submit changes to your personal information, please visit Ohio State’s Alumni Portal at

  7. ‘Special type of leader’: McPheron named Ohio State provost

    Dr. Bruce A. McPheron became The Ohio State University's executive vice president and provost on a permanent basis on June 1.

    Ohio State President Michael V. Drake named McPheron after a national search.

    McPheron previously served as interim provost and, for three years, as vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. As Ohio State’s chief academic officer, he will oversee and help to advance the educational mission of one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive universities.

    “Bruce is the special type of leader who inspires those around him to always bring their very best effort,” Dr. Drake said. “Under his leadership as provost, we are confident that the university will continue to advance its national influence and impact in faculty research, cutting-edge teaching and learning initiatives, and exemplary community and civic engagement.”

    Serving as interim vice president for agricultural administration and CFAES dean will be Dr. Lonnie J. King.

    An alumnus, McPheron returned to Ohio State as vice president and dean in 2012. Since that time, he has placed particular emphasis on positioning Ohio State to be a leader on issues of great significance to communities at home and across the globe.

    He is a member of the executive team of the university’s Discovery Themes, aimed at solving the world’s most pressing challenges through research and discoveries. Nationally, McPheron is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as chair of the Policy Board of Directors of Agriculture for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

    As dean of CFAES, McPheron launched the Field to Faucet initiative, a statewide effort led by Ohio State faculty and staff to ensure clean drinking water for all Ohioans. He also convened the Vice President’s Conversation on the Future of Extension, the college’s outreach arm serving all 88 counties in Ohio, to successfully address critical issues facing Ohioans by 2035.

    McPheron has earned multiple national awards for excellence in leadership and is the sole person to hold elected leadership roles on three APLU agricultural boards.

    “Ohio State is focused on ensuring that our best thinking crosses disciplines to have an impact on the world around us,” McPheron said. “I am honored to collaborate with so many talented faculty, staff, students and community leaders — and I look forward to our continued work together to take the university’s reputation for excellence to new heights.”

    An entomologist by training and an active Twitter user under the handle @medflygenes, he is widely recognized for his scientific expertise. His research focusing on the use of genetic tools to examine population structure in pest insects has been adopted by state, federal and international agencies. McPheron has taught a wide range of classes in entomology and has traveled internationally sharing his research.

    McPheron earned a B.S. at Ohio State and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. He has almost 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, previously serving as dean of Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.


  8. Ohio Ag Hall of Fame inductees have CFAES ties

    The Ohio Agricultural Council recently announced its 2016 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees, and some faces familiar to CFAES are among them: alumnus and supporter Jack Fisher, alumnus Dick Isler, and former OSU Extension director Keith Smith. 

    All four nominees — the fourth is retired Ohio Farmer editor Tim White — have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community. They will be inducted as the Hall of Fame’s 51st class during a special breakfast ceremony Aug. 5 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.

    “Our board is extraordinarily pleased to be honoring such an outstanding group of inductees into this year’s class,” said Jim Chakeres, OAC president. “Each inductee stands out individually for his exceptional contributions to Ohio agriculture, but together they represent the passion, creativity and hard work evidenced by their collective decades of unmatched experience.”

    Induction will take place in the all-new Cardinal Hall at the fairgrounds, which will feature an expanded Hall of Fame display and salute to Ohio’s agriculture community. This year’s inductees will join 217 prior recipients named since 1966 when the program began.

    John C. (Jack) Fisher, Columbus, Ohio

    Often described as a visionary leader, Jack Fisher has served as executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for two decades. From the farmer and consumer connection to political advocacy on behalf of the community and industry, Fisher’s efforts have helped the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio agriculture shape strong policies that impact all Ohioans.

    Previously, Fisher served as deputy director and assistant director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Marketing Board, executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau, and plant manager for Wyandot Inc.

    Fisher has served on numerous agricultural boards and committees and has received state and national recognitions for his leadership to the industry.

    J. Richard (Dick) Isler, Delaware, Ohio

    Born and raised on a livestock farm, Dick Isler has devoted his entire career in service to Ohio agriculture. For more than 40 years, Isler served as the executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council. Under his leadership, the Ohio Pork Council was considered by many as one of the top state pork associations in the country. Farmers, 4-H’ers, processors, marketers, elected officials, researchers, fair managers and consumers have all benefited from Isler’s commitment and leadership to agriculture with an emphasis on swine.

    Isler has received many awards and recognitions, including the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame, Animal Sciences Department Hall of Fame and National Pork Producers Council Executive Professional Award.

    Keith L. Smith, Hilliard, Ohio

    For more than four decades, Keith Smith has dedicated his life to engaging and strengthening individuals’ lives and communities through research-based educational programming. His career began as an agricultural science teacher in Brigham City, Utah. Through the years, he has served as professor, associate vice president for agricultural administration, director of OSU Extension and associate dean of CFAES.

    Serving as the director of OSU Extension for more than 20 years, Smith managed a $68 million budget and oversaw nearly 800 faculty and support staff. Under his leadership, OSU Extension was recognized as one of the best Extension programs in the country.

    Timothy F. White, Lancaster, Ohio

    Tim White has helped translate the science and issues of agriculture to both farmers and consumers for nearly 40 years. When writing for farmers, his stories about production, policy, economics and industry trends provided valuable knowledge and insight. When writing to consumers, his stories positioned Ohio agriculture as interesting and relevant. As a veteran farm writer for Ohio Farmer magazine, White has been recognized as one of the most admired ag-beat writers in the company’s history.

    In addition, White has been an active contributor to the agricultural community. He has dedicated his talents to the extended farm family as a supporter of youth development, a participant in farm organizations, and a leader in state and national journalism organizations. He is also a recognized leader in the advocacy of land conservation and land use.

    The annual recognition event is expected to attract 500 guests to honor these four professionals for their lifetime of service and dedication to Ohio's agriculture community.

    For further information about sponsorship in honor of the inductees or to obtain tickets induction ceremony, contact the Ohio Ag Council at 614-794-8970 or—Rachel C. Rittinger, Senior Executive Assistant, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation


  9. West named director of food systems and industry relations

    A key component of CFAES’s future facilities master plan and anticipated success will be building partnerships with the public and private sectors. More specifically, we believe that there is great opportunity to continue building on the outstanding work being done in departments and units to further engage our corporate partners in support of teaching, research and outreach efforts.

    To help accelerate and/or build the relationships and work with faculty and college leaders, we have hired Greg West to serve as director of food systems and industry relations. Many of you know Greg through his contributions and service to OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development, his teaching and guest lecturing, and his volunteer service helping connect our college to the private sector. Greg began his new role June 1 and will report to the vice president and dean as the college continues to identify and solidify its path to a comprehensive and coordinated effort focusing on private-sector engagement across disciplines.

    Greg has 28 years of experience in the food system in various leadership capacities with some of the most recognizable and successful brand names. Most recently, he served as vice president of Product Innovation and Consumer Insights for Bob Evans Restaurants. Before that, he was director of Food Innovation and Technology for YUM! Brands/KFC in Louisville, Kentucky. Additionally, Greg has worked for Frito-Lay, PepsiCo and Kraft General Foods in various leadership capacities.

    We look forward to Greg working across the college to help each of you and your faculty strategically engage with the private sector and build upon our already strong teaching, research and outreach programs.—Ron Hendrick and Ryan Schmiesing