March 06, 2007
Agriculture college hands out honors at banquet
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Agricultural Sciences honored a longtime supporter of the agricultural industry as well as its top alumni, students and staff as part of its annual banquet, held this year on Friday, Feb. 23, at the campus Student Center.
Peggy K. Fish of Springfield, Karen Little of Pleasant Plains, Alan R. Edmondson of Edwardsville, students Fahran K.J. Robb of Pinckneyville, Alicia M. Garcia of Normal, Jessica L. Pyritz of Normal, Alyssa A. Rider of Kewanee and Christopher A. Bridges of Sardis, Tenn., as well as staff member Lucas D. Maxwell, originally of Farmer City, all received individual awards, while students Cody L. Azotea of Quincy and Meredith L. Halas of Arlington Heights accepted awards on behalf of their clubs.
SIUC's interim chancellor, John M. Dunn, gave the banquet's keynote address, which focused on the state of the University. The college also received a $755 gift from the campus chapter of agricultural fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho in memory of its departed brother Brian J. DeCrane, of Altona, who died in a car accident seven years ago while making sales calls for his summer job.
The college's Service to Agriculture award went to Fish, vice president of public relations and legislative coordinator for Farm Credit Services of Illinois. Fish, who began her career in radio as a farm broadcaster, has worked for the association since 1995. She has served on numerous committees, councils and foundations and has represented the association on trips to Australia, China, Guatemala, New Zealand and the former Soviet Union.
Fish belongs to the college leadership board, plays an active role in such college events as Ag Industry Day and helps SIUC students find intern and extern positions. Her picture will hang in the college's new Hall of Fame.
The college named Little its outstanding alumna. A two-degree graduate, Little received her bachelor's in dietetics in 1969 and her master's in nutrition science in 1984. Now corporate dietitian for Robert's Sysco Food Services in Springfield, she began her career in hospital settings. She also has worked as a clinical instructor for SIUC's School of Medicine.
Over the course of her career, Little has taken on leadership roles in various state professional organizations. Currently, she serves on the college's leadership board and on the board of directors of the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research, chairing the legislative committee of that body as well. She also acts as government affairs team leader for the Illinois Dietetic Association.
Little's picture will hang in the Hall of Fame, and she will speak at the May commencement ceremony.
The college also recognized Edmondson, an environmental protection specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as outstanding young alumnus. A 2000 graduate with a bachelor's in forestry, Edmondson has worked for the Corps since finishing his degree. His current duties include evaluating environmental impacts of regulatory permits issued as part of federal legislation as well as applications for some of those permits. In addition, he represents the Corps in meetings with federal, state and local officials and non-governmental organizations about environmental policy issues. He received a plaque
Robb, a double major in plant, soil and agricultural systems and in political science, is the college's outstanding senior. A two-time USA Today All-USA Academic Team member, her resume runs four pages long and includes numerous awards, international experiences, public presentations, honor and professional society memberships, extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences. She received $100 from the Illinois Farm Bureau and a plaque.
Garcia, majoring in plant, soil and agricultural systems, is runner-up for the senior award. She has held a variety of offices in a number of agriculture-related campus groups including the Agricultural Student Advisory Council, Collegiate FFA, Alpha Zeta honor society, Sigma Alpha sorority and the Agriculture Education Club. She received $50 from the Illinois Farm Bureau and a certificate.
Pyritz, a double major in agribusiness economics and animal production, is the college's outstanding junior. She is president of Sigma Alpha sorority, censor for Alpha Zeta honor society and a member of the Agbassadors, the college's student recruitment team. She received $150 from Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and a plaque, and her name will go on a plaque in the chapter house.
Rider, a major in food and nutrition with a specialization in dietetics, is runner up for the junior award. She serves as vice president of both the Student Nutrition Academic Council and Golden Key International Honour Society, as chronicler for Alpha Zeta honor society and as a member of the Agbassadors. She received a certificate.
Bridges, a graduate student in forestry, won the Chris Rokosh graduate teaching support award. This semester, he designed and taught geographic information systems laboratories for an undergraduate class in recreation land use planning. This involved collecting digital data and analyzing and creating GIS maps and databases. Last summer, he helped plan and lead a four-week tour of local and national forest recreation areas and parks for a field study course. He received a plaque.
The Horticulture Association, headed by Azotea, a senior in plant and soil science, received $100 and a plaque from Farm Credit Services as the college's outstanding club. The Equestrian Team, headed by Halas, a junior in animal science, received a certificate.
Maxwell, who joined the college as its first full-time coordinator of recruitment, retention and placement in 2005, received the Donald M. Elkins Excellence in Education award. Elkins, an agronomist who retired in 1996 as associate dean after a 29-year career in the college, published in a variety of farm magazines, agricultural journals and plant and soil digests, co-wrote a widely used crop production text and won numerous teaching awards from regional, state and national groups.