The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources honored outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of CAFNR at its annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony Friday, April 7.
Awards were given for teaching, research, advising, extension and volunteering and to outstanding staff, students, student organizations and alumni.
The evening culminated with the presentation of the Frederick B. Mumford Awards – CAFNR’s highest honor – given to an outstanding faculty member, staff member and for outstanding service to the College by an alumni or friend. Mumford was the fifth dean of the College and served in the position for 27 years.
Awards presented at the event included:
Holly Enowski, Russellville, Mo., was named Outstanding Freshman. She is majoring in science and agricultural journalism. Enowski has built an impressive resume during her first year at the University of Missouri, including becoming the first incoming freshman at the University to take part in the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship. The internship took her to Mbita, Kenya, where she conducted research about agriculture and food safety. "I believe Holly’s achievements have just begun. She cares little about receiving praise or laurels, rather, she does the work because she cares deeply about relieving hunger in Missouri and abroad, about her co-workers and fellow students, and about agriculture. I believe Holly will be not only an outstanding freshman, but an outstanding CAFNR student, graduate, and alumna. She will reach great heights and always represent this college and this field with pride," said Maria Kalaitzandonakes, senior, agricultural economics and science and agricultural journalism.
Maria Kuhns, sophomore in agribusiness management, Mason, Ill., was named Outstanding Sophomore. She is an MFA Undergraduate Research Scholar and Litton Leadership Scholar, and has served as a Summer Welcome Peer Counselor. She is the vice president of the MU chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association, and is the fundraising co-chair of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority. Kuhns is the Division of Applied Social Sciences social media intern. "She is often called upon to meet with alumni and agricultural industry stakeholders visiting the University," said Joe Parcell, MFA Professor of Agribusiness and department chair, agricultural and applied economics. "She has become the face of our program for showing stakeholders the quality of undergraduate student obtaining a degree in agribusiness management. She will do the same for agriculture throughout her life."
Robyn Eschenbrenner, Wooldridge, Mo., junior in agricultural education, received the Outstanding Junior honor. She has made numerous connections during her three years at the University of Missouri. She has worked with Missouri Farmers Care, the Missouri Soybean Association and the Mizzou Collegiate Farm Bureau, among other organizations. "Over the years I have interacted with Robyn in different settings. I have served as her academic advisor, had her in multiple classes, and as a student office aid. In all of these situations she is always prepared and ready to work," said Jon C. Simonsen, associate professor and department chair, department of agricultural education and leadership. There are not many students like her that can achieve at an excellent level in all facets of a college experience. She is an outstanding student that is organized, focused, and takes the time to assist classmates when needed. Her ability to balance all her endeavors is commendable."
The Alpha Chi Chapter of Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority was recognized as the Outstanding Student Club. The organization has 60 active members and strives to uphold the objectives of the national sorority, including promoting agriculture, strengthening friendships and striving for achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. In the past year, Sigma Alpha members have organized a fundraiser trap shoot; participated in CAFNR Week, including having members on its steering committee; hosted a symposium with informative agriculture speakers and professional networking; and volunteered at the CAFNR Ag Unlimited fundraiser. Throughout the year, members visit local elementary classrooms to help students understand where their food comes from. "A little over a year ago, I was asked to serve as the advisor for the University of Missouri’s Sigma Alpha – Alpha Chi chapter," said Linda Sowers, CAFNR instructor and Sigma Alpha advisor. "I accepted not fully knowing what adventures were ahead for me. I have learned working with these young women is a rewarding and heartwarming experience. They care deeply about and work remarkably well in organizing and implementing their philanthropic, social and board activities.
Kristen Marshall, Smithville, Mo., was honored with the Ag Alumni Association Past President Award. She has been an account director at AgCall U.S.A. since December 2010. In this role, she has developed and executed customer influencing strategies for agricultural clients including FMC Agricultural Solutions, BASF, Vive Crop Protection, and Bayer CropScience. Marshall received a bachelor’s degree from CAFNR in agricultural journalism, with honors, in 2000, and an MBA with emphasis in agribusiness from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2002. She has served as the National Careers Committee chair and the Student Marketing Competition chair for the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). Marshall served as president of the Kansas City Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni association in 2012-13, in addition to her service as president of the Mizzou Ag Alumni Association Board of Directors. She was recognized by the Mizzou Alumni Association as the recipient of the G.O.L.D. Volunteer Leader Award in 2010, and by NAMA as the recipient of the Workhorse of the Year, President’s, and R.C. Ferguson awards for her service to that organization. "Some things in life we take as a given. The sun will come up in the east and Kristen will always have a new idea we can try," said Alan Weber, past president, Ag Alumni Association.
Darryl Chatman, Lake St. Louis, Mo., was honored with the Citation of Merit Award. He is general counsel for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Previously he worked for Armstrong Teasdale LLP in St. Louis, Mo., as the leader of the firm’s Ag and Biotech practice group, and as the deputy director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Chatman holds four degrees from the University of Missouri — a B.S. (1997) and M.S. (2001) in animal sciences, an M.S. in agriculture economics (2007) and a J.D. (2008). He also holds a master’s in public administration from North Carolina State University (2003). He is a member of the search committee for the CAFNR vice chancellor and dean and has been part of the Vice Chancellor’s Leadership Council in CAFNR. Chatman has been appointed by the governor to serve on the UM System Board of Curators. "I had the opportunity to hire Darryl as Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture in December of 2014," said Richard Fordyce, former director, Missouri Department of Agriculture. "Darryl immediately embraced the position with class, passion and a great deal of knowledge. We worked together to communicate the good story of agriculture to our ag audiences, but maybe more importantly, the audiences in urban and suburban Missouri. Darryl was able to articulate a message to nontraditional audiences that we had not successfully reached in the past."
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Michael Johanning, Olathe, Kan., was honored with the Citation of Merit Award. He received his bachelor’s in agricultural journalism in 1974. He had a 38-year career with John Deere, with assignments in publications, product support, sales, marketing and strategic planning. He is president of the Missouri Agricultural Foundation. Johanning also has served as chairman of the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City, on the Mizzou Ag Alumni Association Board of Directors and as chairman of the Ag Alumni Association’s Ag Unlimited fundraising event. He spearheaded the creation of a promotional video for the Ag Alumni Association. "Mike Johanning is the kind of professional who strives for excellence with any project he is involved," said Colleen Abbott, past president, Ag Alumni Association. "This was evident in his work at John Deere, but also his volunteer work on the Ag Alumni Board. Mike was not a board member who only showed up to meetings, but invested his time and resources as a committed board member set to leave a lasting impact."
Rex R. Campbell, Columbia, Mo., was named the Alumnus of the Year. He received all three of his degrees from CAFNR — bachelor’s and master’s in agricultural extension, and his Ph.D. in rural sociology. Campbell, professor emeritus of rural sociology, served as department chair from 1974-79 and 1985-90, and has been chair of the MU Faculty Council. He served more than 30 years on Columbia city committees, including 12 years on the City Council (four years as mayor pro-tem). Campbell chaired 65 graduate degree programs, taught 600 courses, developed 20 new courses and taught 12,000 students. He still teaches one course per semester, for which he refuses compensation. His research has been featured on both the front page of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal twice. He established the Rex and Mary Campbell Scholars program, which currently supports six scholarships and has supported 14. In addition, an estate gift from the Campbells will create the Rex and Mary Campbell Institute for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. "His generosity has no end. Rex and his wife Mary have made education their life’s mission, which includes helping this generation of students pay for ever-increasing college tuition," said Thomas L. Payne, professor of entomology & former CAFNR vice chancellor and dean. "Rex and Mary’s amazing legacy will live on forever within CAFNR and Mizzou."
Thomas L. Payne, Columbia, Mo., was given Honorary Membership in the MU Ag Alumni Association. He served as vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources from Jan. 1, 1999, to Dec. 31, 2016. He received his bachelor’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Riverside. Payne is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Insect Behavior. He is a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America and has received the Alexander von Humbolt Prize and the Entomological Society of America Outstanding Research Award. He has served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Agriculture in Missouri and the Agriculture Future of America Board. "Tom has true passion for Missouri agriculture and our college," said Richard Fordyce, former director, Missouri Department of Agriculture. "I am a little bit surprised he does not already hold Honorary Membership. His smile and charisma will always be remembered positively in the agriculture community. It is my honor to recommend Tom Payne for Honorary Membership."
Peter Hofherr, St. James, Mo., was honored with the True Tiger Volunteer Award. As a native Missourian, Hofherr has always been a strong supporter of Missouri agriculture. Hofherr earned degrees from Auburn University and Georgia State University before receiving his Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Missouri in 2014. Hofherr has served as the assistant director for the McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at MU since 2005 and has been the chairman and chief executive officer of St. James Winery since 2008. He is part of several wine and grape boards and was the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture from 2003-05. "Peter is an authentic leader who gives of himself and achieves results. CAFNR and the state of Missouri have greatly benefitted from his many contributions. He is everything that this award stands for — excellence, leadership, collaboration — with an unwavering commitment to CAFNR, MU and Missouri."
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Brad Fresenburg, Columbia, Mo., was honored with the Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award. He received four degrees from the University of Missouri — B.S. Ag ’76, M.S. Agronomy ’80, MBA ’90 and Ph.D. Agronomy ’10. Fresenburg has conducted turf research since he joined Mizzou as a research specialist in 1987. Along with his research, Fresenburg has a passion for mentoring students and working as an extension specialist. Fresenburg works hard to keep in touch with his former students. He acts as a mentor to those former students, as well as a friend. Many of his students have followed in his footsteps and gone on to careers in turf management. Teamwork is a priority for Fresenburg, too, as he coordinates training sessions and programs for colleagues. "As a former student of Dr. Fresenburg’s at the University of Missouri, it is safe to say he made a deep and lasting impact on me," said Alex Politte, assistant head groundskeeper, Oklahoma State University. "As a professor in the plant science program, he made each and every class period fun, exciting and entertaining. Through real-world experiences, his diligence in the field, and his personable approach with his students, he created an educational experience far greater than anything I had imagined. I truly looked forward to the opportunity to soak up anything I could, in every situation, from Dr. Fresenburg."
Kristin Simpson, research specialist I, plant sciences, received the Outstanding Staff Award. Simpson has served as the collection manager for the Enns Entomological Museum for nearly 30 years. In that role, Simpson processes collections, donations, and incoming and outgoing loans. She also archives entomological program literature and maintains equipment and supplies for entomology courses. Simpson is incredibly organized, as she can quickly find any preserved specimen among the 7 million in the museum. She gives museum tours and also showcases live insects. Simpson goes above and beyond to make visiting scientists feel at home at CAFNR. She creates a comfortable environment for those scientists, including preparing a workspace for them and providing informative literature. "I don’t know of a more inclusive team member than Kris Simpson," said Robert Sites, director and professor of entomology. Everything she does brings people together in some way, whether it’s getting undergraduates to coordinate on museum tasks, working with graduate students to teach each other how to properly prepare their specimens for the museum collection, with faculty to prepare labs and equipment for their classes, or with the public for her presentations. Whenever I need help with anything related to teaching or the museum, Kris cheerfully volunteers to do it before I can even ask."
Harley Naumann, assistant professor, plant sciences, received the Outstanding Teacher, Early Career Award. He has been an assistant professor within the Division of Plant Sciences for the past three years. His courses focus on plant structure and function, forage crops and laboratory topics in forage analysis. Naumann’s style of teaching and hands-on approach is consistently praised by his students and fellow faculty members. Naumann has served as a guest lecturer for a handful of courses as well, in both plant sciences and animal sciences. He serves as an advisor and mentor to several students, too. "Overall, I consider Dr. Naumann to be a very dedicated teacher," said Xi Xiong, associate professor, plant sciences. "He comes to class prepared and demonstrates his interest in the material he teaches. He has good interactions with students. His knowledge and passion towards undergraduate education plays a significant role in our division, and in my opinion, he is worthy of recognition."
Sharon Wood-Turley, teaching assistant professor, program chair and advising chair, science and agricultural journalism, received the Outstanding Teacher, Senior Award. She has been teaching science and agricultural journalism in CAFNR since 1984, when she joined as an instructor/information specialist. She has been the chair of the program since 2009, and serves on various committees within CAFNR and MU. Wood-Turley received the CAFNR Golden Apple Award in 2003 and has been selected by Mizzou ’39 Award recipients to be honored along with them as their mentor. In 2016, she won both the Excellence in Advising Award at Mizzou and the Faculty Advisor Award from the Missouri Academic Advising Association. She’s been selected this year for the Excellence in Advising Faculty Award by the National Academic Advising Association, Region 7. "Sharon Wood-Turley is a teacher, but more than that, she is a mentor, an inspirer, a counselor and an advocate for her students," said student Nora Faris. "As one of those students, I can attest to her constant support of my own ambitions, career goals and academic pursuits. Her influence as an educator transcends the classroom and is reflected by the many achievements of her science and agricultural journalism students."
Marci Crosby, instructor, animal sciences, received the Outstanding Advisor for Undergraduate Advising Award. Crosby teaches seven courses throughout the school year and advises an average of 50 students each year. Her courses focus on equine behavior and training, facility management and marketing, selection and evaluation, breeding management, and also includes a horse production capstone course. Crosby is also the manager of the MU Equine Teaching Facility. Crosby has helped coordinate and organize several activities and events throughout her time at MU, including working with Missouri State 4-H and Missouri FFA. Crosby’s advisor evaluations have consistently been outstanding. Crosby also provides advising for incoming freshmen during Summer Welcome. "Regardless of whether an individual is an advisee, in her class, or a horse farm volunteer, Marci consistently pushes students to perform at a high level," said Trista Strauch, coordinator, Captive Wild Animal Management Minor. "She offers advice that lasts a lifetime — going well beyond what coursework the student should complete the following semester. She is always available for her students, and has handled many individual issues with discretion and a steady hand. She knows her students on a personal level, and is thus well prepared to offer personalized advice. Her students love her, and it is easy to see why!"
Deborah Finke, associate professor, plant sciences, received the Outstanding Advisor for Graduate Advising Award. In 2013 she received the CAFNR Distinguished Early Researcher Award. Finke has published 31 refereed publications, advised 10 graduate students and been on the committee for 18 additional master’s and doctoral students. Her current and past graduate students describe her open-door policy, hands-on support, and encouragement to achieve above and beyond. “She helped me transform into a scientist, researcher, and leader that I myself never imagined I could be,” said Elizabeth Y. Long, assistant professor, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “She provided the training, guidance, and encouragement required for me to obtain the highest possible degree, and I sincerely feel that my success is in many ways a testament to her great investment in my development throughout my graduate career. “During my five years at MU, I regularly heard other graduate students in my cohort say, ‘I wish I was in the Finke lab.’ I think this really speaks volumes about Debbie’s enthusiasm for graduate teaching and training — even students outside our lab could see it and wanted to be part of this unique mentor-mentee experience.”
Ryan Milhollin, agricultural economist/extension specialist, was honored with the J.W. Burch State Specialist Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Award. Milhollin has numerous areas of expertise, including business planning and management, finance, risk management, and environmental regulations. He works with producers, industry associations, government agencies, input suppliers and agribusinesses to share that wealth of knowledge and information. Milhollin has also secured grant funding to help develop educational programs and curriculum. He recently helped organize a study abroad trip to Argentina, which included representatives from the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council. Milhollin has authored feasibility studies, guide sheets and reports for numerous industries, including biofuel, livestock and crop. "Throughout Missouri, Ryan is regarded as an expert in business planning and management, finance, risk management and environmental regulations due to his extension work. In my current role, I spend much time interacting with constituents within MU, state and federal governments and industry. From those interactions, it’s clear that Ryan’s work has effectively supported Missouri agriculture and farmers."
Melissa Mitchum, associate professor, plant sciences, received the Distinguished Researcher Award. She has authored and co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed research and review articles and nine book chapters. Mitchum has given over 40 invited seminars and presentations. She has filed 15 invention disclosures and patents and has garnered more than $15 million in external grant funding. Her findings have been published in Nature. She received the 2015 Syngenta Award for Outstanding Research Contribution in Plant Pathology, American Phytopathological Society. Mitchum is the monitoring editor of Plant Pathology and associate editor of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. She studies nematode-plant interaction from both sides, shedding light on the biology of both. Her seminal discoveries have transcended the field of plant nematology. "The potential applications of Dr. Mitchum’s fundamental research towards reducing nematode damage in agriculture are significant and represent the best that the land-grant mission has to offer," said Eric L. Davis, Plant Pathology Head and WNR Distinguished Professor, North Carolina State University.
Michael F. SmithDivision of Animal Sciences160 ASRC
Michael F. Smith, Curators Teaching Professor, Animal Sciences, received the Roger L. Mitchell Fellow Award. Smith excels in every facet of his career — he has been recognized at the college, university and national levels for teaching, research and advising. In 1995 Smith received MU’s William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Other awards include the UM System President’s Award for Innovative Teaching (2015), the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2012), the Physiology and Endocrinology Award from the American Society of Animal Science (2009), Society for the Study of Reproduction Trainee Mentoring Award(2008), and CAFNR’s Frederick B. Mumford Outstanding Faculty Award (2004).Smith has secured continuous federal competitive funding for research since 1984. He is a fellow of the American Society of Animal Science. He is on the editorial board of Reproduction, has published more than 150 papers in leading journals and has presented more than 130 papers. "Rarely does one have the benefit of not only having a renowned research scientist who is highly competitive in obtaining extramural funding for biological research, but a faculty member that also excels in teaching students in a difficult curriculum," said Rodney D. Geisert, professor, animal sciences
Francisco Aguilar, associate professor, School of Natural Resources, was named the Brady J. Deaton Fellow in International Agriculture. Aguilar has been an associate professor of forestry at the University of Missouri since 2007 with a focus on sustainable forest management. He is a forest resource economist interested in helping society achieve better forest resource management through independent and unbiased research and communication. Aguilar has a strong international background with a long list of global experiences. He has been a part of educational systems in Costa Rica, the United Kingdom and the United States. He has used that experience as a building block toward his teaching style. He incorporates his vast global experience in the examples he uses in the classroom. “Just in terms of his training, he has had geographical diversity in his professional development which he uses to further inform and expand his teaching,” said John R. Jones, Curators Professor Emeritus, School of Natural Resources. “He’s been trained in Costa Rica, and the United Kingdom, as well as experiencing a more global outlook with exposure to some of the top educational systems in Latin America, Europe and North America. He has studied the development and expansion of environmental certification programs in the global marketplace, focusing on the potential adoption of a common global code of conduct for sustainable forest management.”
Stephen AndersonMU professor of Soil, enviroment and Atmospheric Science
Stephen H. Anderson, William A. Albrecht Distinguished Professor, School of Natural Resources, received the Frederick B. Mumford Award for Outstanding Faculty. Anderson was the first to use x-ray computed tomography to allow scientists to peer directly into soils, thereby providing a window for quantifying soil complexity and structure. He has published 135 refereed journal articles, mentored 36 graduate students and 15 post-doctoral/visiting scientists, has been an adjunct at two national laboratories and a visiting professor in Australia. He co-chaired a faculty committee that produced a strategic plan for the School of Natural Resources. “Steve simply excels in every area of his academic position,” said John R. Jones, Curators Professor Emeritus, School of Natural Resources. He is a topnotch instructor, thoughtful advisor, organized administrator and exceptional research scientist. Steve’s work in soil physics is groundbreaking, and somewhat underappreciated at MU.”
Kristi Livingston, project development specialist, agricultural and applied economics, received the Frederick B. Mumford Award for Outstanding Staff. She has worked with the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership for more than 20 years. In this role she manages the communication, content and programs of the organization. She is also the education coordinator for the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives. “In both of these activities I have had the opportunity to observe her ability to work with a diverse set of farm, agricultural trade association, cooperative management, and cooperative board leaders,” said Mike Cook, Robert D. Partridge Professor, agricultural and applied economics. “Her ability to manage, lead, organize, and coordinate continually surpasses the expectations of these stakeholder groups and has made an indelible positive mark on GICL and MIC’s reputations. This outstanding performance has also enhanced the reputation of the organizations and stakeholders affiliated with these organizations including CAFNR and the University of Missouri.”
Robin Wenneker received the Frederick B. Mumford Award for Distinguished Service. She is the managing partner in a family business that owns farm, rental and land holdings. She handles investments, legal issues, government and accounting interfaces. She formerly worked for Procter & Gamble and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games – the world’s largest games for the disabled. She graduated with a B.S/B.A. from Mizzou in 1991 and an MBA from Washington University in 2002. Wenneker has served as president of the CAFNR Foundation and is part of CAFNR’s Campaign Steering Committee. She received Honorary Membership in the Mizzou Ag Alumni Association in 2014. She is the Mizzou Alumni Association treasurer for 2017-18. “Robin’s affinity for fostering relationships and connecting people is just one of her many talents,” said Darcy Wells, CAFNR senior director of advancement. “She has worked tirelessly to do just that through her work at Mizzou serving on numerous committees and advisory boards across campus, leading alumni chapters and serving as mentor to MU students. She is sought after to lend her expertise on groups like the Griffith’s Leadership Society (mentor task force co-chair), Friends of the Library Society Council, Alumnae Secretary to Kappa Alpha Theta, Mizzou Alumni Association Governing Board, the Executive Board of MAA’s Boone County Chapter and on the rules committee for the MUAA Athletics Committee. And, most recently, she was appointed to the Chancellor’s Search Committee, attesting to our campus leadership’s confidence in her. Although Robin is a graduate of MU’s College of Business, she has made CAFNR her home through family connections – her father and grandfather were CAFNR graduates. Robin and her mother Carolyn support two Wenneker/Patrick family named scholarships in CAFNR.”