ACEL alum John Feisley turns 100

 

Kristen Reymann, assistant director of leadership annual giving with the Ohio State Alumni Association, recently visited agricultural education alum John Feisley in honor of his 100th birthday. Feisley graduated in 1941 with a bachelor of science in agricultural education. Reymann shares about her visit with him below!

I recently had the pleasure of executing a special mission from the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. Claire Badger and Kyle Sebastian reached out to me with a plan to deliver a very special 100th birthday present to a 1941 OSU agricultural education alumnus in eastern Ohio. Claire gave me the package, I made a phone call, and I was off to Saint Clairsville the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

When I arrived at John Feisley’s house, I was greeted with a big smile and was immediately welcomed inside. I presented the gift and gave him kind words from the college as he opened his new goody bag. I don’t think the smile left John’s face the whole hour that I was there. He enjoyed the OSU hat and shirt, and intently read the pamphlet from CFAES as he opened up his birthday card from Dean Kress. I informed him the coin that he received from her is rarely handed out and he giggled as he held it in his hands. He also received a personally addressed video from the Chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) which is where John’s major is housed. This department just celebrated their 100th birthday last year. What a happy coincidence!

John’s happy personality was contagious as we talked about Ohio State memories and shared stories about campus. I asked him what his favorite memory was from OSU and after a short pause he quickly said “well the football games of course”. He still remembers the first game he ever went to. His sister had bought him a ticket to the OSU vs. TCU game and even though the Buckeyes lost that day, he still enjoyed his time in The Shoe. “They beat us. But then we went down to the field and tore the poles down. You would think we only did that when we won!” John still watches every game to this day.

John grew up with two brothers and one sister in Clarington on the Ohio River where his father was a dairy farmer. His grandfather came to the United States from Switzerland when he was 12, and John remembers life back in the day when a horse and buggy was the main way of transportation. He recalls the change from this to gravel roads and cars during the winter, and laughs thinking about how muddy it used to be.

John received a scholarship while he was at Ohio State which covered the full $200/quarter tuition. He says “it was kind of a quiet university at that time” with about 19,000 students. He remembers Dr. Ralph Bender, who assisted in the practice teaching program in Westerville high schools, although he completed his in Grove City with Mr. Ruble. He enjoyed attending basketball games with his friends and dance classes in the old Ohio Union. He and his classmates all donated $1 to help build stone walls near the university’s entrance on 15th avenue. He still remembers the library, University Hall, and Townsend, and just recently visited last summer.

I asked John about his wife Marian, who passed away 4 years ago. He told me they met at a movie theatre and even though she went to the University of Cincinnati, they were still Buckeyes. He chuckled as he told me about the times when they would go back and visit UC. “She couldn’t find anything and she was always disoriented”, he laughed.

John told me his daughter Anne, also an OSU alum (‘97), was coming from Columbus to spend time with him on Thanksgiving. He shared a few stories about his children and his Christmas Tree business before I packed up my things to head back to Columbus. We took some pictures together, said our goodbyes, and I left with a full heart and another great Buckeye memory. Happy 100th birthday John!

 

Happy Birthday John! We are so proud to have you as a member of our alumni family!

Talking Shoppe: Born to be a teacher

By Cody McClain ’19
senior, agriscience education

“Go change the tire on my truck!” – Mr. Keck told his class. I heard Mr. Keck tell his class to perform this task when I was completing my early field experience (EFE) for agriscience education at Marysville High School. In Keck’s class, students explore their psychomotor skills and learn to work with their hands.

Mr. Bill Keck is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Marysville High School. Along with being an agriculture teacher for 33 years, Keck is a farmer in the local Marysville community.

I met Mr. Keck for the first time during my EFE. Mr. Keck primarily teaches agricultural mechanics which include engines, woodworking, welding, electricity, hydraulics and much more. His passion for teaching agricultural mechanics inspired me pursue a minor in agricultural systems management, where I can focus on courses that will prepare me to teach this content. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Mr. Keck and hearing about his career teaching agriculture. As I prepare for student teaching this spring, I am looking forward to reflecting and utilizing the knowledge and skills that I learned during my EFE.

“Here is your pilot, he is studying to be a teacher, a job more important than being a pilot.”

 

Pathway to Marysville FFA
Mr. Keck’s passion for agricultural started with growing up on a small hobby farm and raising a few market steers for his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project for FFA. He had always aimed to be a pilot; however, he was not sure if that was going to be a career, so along with aviation, he studied agricultural mechanization and agricultural education at The Ohio State University. He concentrated on his journey in teaching after he had a pilot, who was teaching Keck to fly, tell Keck that teaching is more important than being a pilot.

Student teaching was the hardest job but very rewarding, said Keck. Dr. Gliem and Dr. Hedges, faculty in the Department of Agricultural Education, were valuable mentors for Keck throughout his student teaching and graduate school experience. After starting his teaching career at Licking County JVS for two years, he then moved to Marysville where he has been for 31 years. He primarily teaches agricultural mechanics, and the content priorities for these courses have changed much in the past 33 years, Keck said. However, his ag mechanic laboratory (a.k.a. “the shop”) has changed with tools and equipment in the past 33 years. When Keck started teaching, he only had buzz box stick welders in his shop, but now he has wire feed welders and a virtual reality arc welder to train his students the fundamentals of welding.

“Teach students to be productive citizens of society. Agricultural education and FFA are great vehicle to do that.”

 

Impactful Teacher and FFA advisor
Keck has been a positive force in the world and impacts the lives of every student who walks into his classroom. He pushes students to be the absolute best that they can be at whatever they want to do. Whether a student wants to be veterinarian or electrician, he guides students to choose career pathways that suit their passion and skills. As an Ag Teacher and FFA advisor, Keck’s ultimate goal is to teach students to be productive citizens of society. He has enriched many lives through hands-on learning. He loves his job and plans to continue to pursue his passion of teaching agriculture and advising FFA members.


“Teaching is an important job.”

 

Importance of Agricultural Education
The bottom line is, teachers need to teach students how to work with their hands. From changing tires to cutting steel, students learn to work with their hands in Keck’s classroom and shop.  Students need to learn psychomotor skills that prepare them to be productive citizens of society when they graduate high school. For Keck himself, learning psychomotor skills has been a lifelong learning experience. These are skills that are difficult to gain but extremely important. Agricultural education is the ideal place for students to learn these skills. As this industry moves forward, he believes we need teachers who teach with their hands, so their students learn those psychomotor skills. Keck played a role in preparing these teachers when he taught the laboratory management and pedagogy course at Ohio State from 2008 to 2012.

“Teachers raise kids, which has made it an important job in society,” said Keck. Ag education is the vehicle to change lives, and as a whole, society needs to continue to advocate and share the importance of agricultural education. From starting out wanting to be a pilot to teaching agriculture for 33 years, Keck has pursued an important and impactful career. He is looking forward to year 34. Keck is a remarkable agriculture educator, and we are grateful to have many like teachers like Keck in our schools across Ohio.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Earl “Doc” Kantner, ’50, ’56 M.S., ’65 Ph.D.

Dr. Earl Kantner is a three time graduate of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. He came to Ohio State from Wapakoneta, Ohio with a goal of becoming an agricultural educator in 1946. He accomplished that goal when he spent eight years in agricultural classrooms and later achieved a career long dream of becoming the director of the Ohio FFA Association. Dr. Kantner is now retired and resides in Canal Winchester, Ohio.

[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Kantner! Share with us why you decided to attend The Ohio State University and major in agricultural education.
[Kantner]: Growing up on a good livestock and crop family farm gave me a strong base for a career in the agricultural industry. I had a strong interest in my high school agricultural classes, leading me to a defining decision to pursue a career as an agricultural teacher. I never wavered from that early decision, which led me to a dream lifetime career. My choice for a college  major was thus an easy one—College of Agriculture (now CFAES), Department of Agricultural Education (now ACEL), at The Ohio State University!!

I wanted to attend an agricultural college in the Midwest. I considered Iowa State, Purdue, Kentucky and of course Ohio State! The decision soon emerged as an easy choice!! It was my home state university– Ohio State! (I have always been a loyal Buckeye). Ohio State had a top reputation as did the agricultural college and the agricultural education department. How could I possibly go wrong- Ohio State was my choice!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your career or career path?
The entire faculty of my major department – the Department of Agricultural Education, (especially Dr. Ralph Bender, department chairman) were very supportive of me and my career progress. They were very thorough, checking my course work, my work ethic and my specific progress.

The coursework went well. I was, and still am… well satisfied. Overall, the education I received at Ohio State motivated me to reach my career long goal of becoming a teacher.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I always put academic achievement first in my university life. I was able to accomplish this while being somewhat active in extracurricular activities.

  • Alpha Zeta Fraternity
  • Several Honorary Fraternities
  • TAES (Townshend Ag-Ed Society) Member
  • Feature writer, College Magazine
  • Grange Club Membership

This routine resulted in a good balance for me. I was, and am, well pleased.

What classes did you enjoy the most at Ohio State?
The courses relating to my major (agricultural education) were my most enjoyable, since they related specifically to my future teaching career. I also enjoyed guidance, statistics, and research courses. They were difficult, but satisfying and would be useful in life and my career.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education or career?
Dr. Ralph Bender was the Ohio State professor that made the greatest impact on me throughout my college experience. he was chairman of the agricultural education department at Ohio State and was well known and highly respected throughout Ohio, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Bender chose to be my personal graduate school advisor, guiding me through my master’s degree and my doctoral program. It was Dr. Bender who urged me to pursue a doctorate degree, leading to higher career achievement.

I was and will be, eternally grateful to Dr. Ralph E. Bender for his personal care guidance and support of me in my career (and life) preparation.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I always enjoyed “learning” and my time at Ohio State was certainly no exception. It is nearly impossible to pick a favorite memory from the many, but I believe the classroom routine- the class- information and classmate comradery would be favorite memories. Fraternity life (Alpha Zeta) would be like wise be a strong favorite memory!!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I’ll never forget– my first job following graduation from Ohio State was teaching— fulfillment of my high school dream of becoming a teacher.

Immediately after graduation, I and other graduates applied for an agricultural teaching position at Ansonia High School, located in Western Ohio’s Darke County– A strong agricultural area. After personal interviews and a long (2 week) wait I received a personal phone call from the school superintendent that I was their choice to fill their open position. I was highly delighted — I accepted!!!

Share with us the different positions you held throughout your career.
My first teaching experience was at Ansonia High School in far western Ohio’s Darke County…a strong agricultural area. After two good years, I was offered a teaching position at Wauseon High School in far northwest Ohio , a larger school, teaching agricultural classes and training Ohio State student teachers assigned by Ohio State.

After six great years at Wauseon, I was offered (and eagerly accepted) an appointment on the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Education at The Ohio State University. Duties at Ohio State included involvement in normal staff operations and especially operating the “southeast teacher training center…a typical high school setting for Ohio State’s teacher training program. It was a great position I kept for six years.

In 1963 I was offered, and accepted, a position of assistant state director of the Ohio Agricultural Education Service with the Ohio Department of Education. This was the program that oversaw the agricultural teaching programs in 350 Ohio high schools.

In addition to regular administrative state department operations, I was high excited to be appointed as director of the Ohio FFA Association – ironically my career long “dream job.” With great joy and appreciation, I accepted.

What honors and awards have you been presented throughout your career?
A number of companies, businesses and organizations and others presented plaques, certificates and other honors for my 44 years of dedication to Ohio youth preparing for careers in the agricultural industry through agricultural education and FFA.

Some of the honors are:
National Level

  • Distinguished Service Award, National Association of Agricultural Educators
    Distinguished Service Citation, National Vocational Education Service
    National FFA VIP Award

State Level:

  • The Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame
  • The Ohio Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award
  • Honorary Director of Agriculture
  • Ohio State Silver Anniversary Award
  • Ohio FFA Distinguished Service Award
  • Ohio FFA VIP Award

Local level:

  • Numbers retirement and meetings letters of appreciation

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My appointment to the Department of Education, which included the position of director of the Ohio FFA Association was clearly my favorite career highlight.

While I fully enjoyed administrative duties of being assistant state supervisor of the Agricultural Education Service, working with teen age young people in FFA was my “piece of the cake.” I truly loved the sky-high inspiring activities that occurred on a daily basis.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve young people preparing for careers in the agricultural industry through the agricultural education and FFA programs.

What advice would you give to a current student?
My single advice to a current student would be – take the HIGH ROAD – for your life journey!!

PLANNING is a key – “give strong consideration to what you want your life to be like. Don’t…DO NOT…just “develop by chance.”

My several top specific suggestions for growing into a good life would be:

  • Choose a “dream career” – one you would truly love!!
  • Have a firm religious faith
  • be a strong family person
  • be careful – chose a perfect life-mate
  • be enthusiastic, friendly and caring
  • work hard – “enjoy your work!!”

A summation – plan ahead, take the high road, work diligently and – enjoy life!

A final “inspiration and guide” – a specific part of the legendary #1 New York state musical – The Sound of Music – is a tremendous inspiration and guide for life:

“Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Following every rainbow
Til you reach….your dream!!”

This was a major inspiration for me…and is sure to be for all – especially students.

What did ACEL mean to you?
ACEL was a true “guide” to me all through my eight years of student at Ohio State. It was “home base” – the place I went for information of any kind – registration, direction, suggestion, friendship, and especially important – inspiration!

The entire faculty was truly “warm and friendly” and supportive in every way. Dr. Ralph Bender, chairman of the department, was usually the first to look up from his busy desk and greet his students.

ACEL was truly valuable to me – inspiring and guiding me through my college life and into my “dream” career.

 

Earl Kantner enters World War II in 1944.

 

Earl Kantner studies at the Alpha Zeta Fraternity House at Ohio State in 1948.

 

Dr. Earl Kantner appointed to the Ohio Department of Education and Director of the Ohio FFA Association.

 

Earl Kantner reitres January 1, 1984 after 44 years of dedication to Ohio FFA Youth.

 

US Army Sgt Earl Kantner heads VFW Post in 2002.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. R. Kirby Barrick ’70, ’73 M.S., ’80 Ph.D.

 

Dr. Kirby Barrick ’70, ’73 M.S., ’80 Ph.D. is a three-time alum of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, with all three degrees concentrating on agricultural education. Now retired dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida and professor emeritis, Barrick resides in Gainesville, Florida. He also served as a member of the ACEL Centennial Endowment committee.

Why did you select to major in agricultural education?
I knew in high school that I wanted to be a teacher. By my junior year I knew I wanted to be a vo-ag teacher. I was greatly influenced by my teacher (John Stimpert); he was the best vo-ag teacher I have ever known!

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
After thinking about going elsewhere, I easily decided on Ohio State. After all, why not – a top college of agriculture and the best agricultural education department in the country.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I was well-prepared to be a high school vo-ag teacher. Then things just seemed to develop. Obviously, my Ph.D. in teacher education and higher education led me to a faculty position and eventually into administration.

Share with us how you were involved in student life outside of the classroom.
I joined Alpha Gamma Rho and served as a vice-president and then president of the chapter. I was president of the Agricultural Education Society. I served on Ag College Council, and Social Board (determined activities at the Ohio Union), was Homecoming Queen Committee Chair, May Week General Chairman, and a member of the Senior Class Committee. I was initiated into Bucket & Dipper.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
The agricultural education classes, of course, were good and very important for my career objective. I also enjoyed most of the agriculture classes, especially the advanced entomology course.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Dr. Bender and Dr. Warmbrod are clearly at the top of the list. I recall being in the graduate teaching methods course with Dr. Bender. While the content was great, watching and learning from a master teacher was phenomenal. Dr. Warmbrod has many of those same characteristics.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Alpha Gamma Rho continues to be an important part of my life. AGR and FFA made me who I am today as a person. Those were great times for learning and having fun. I still get together with initiation class buddies each year.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Vocational Agriculture Instructor at Sheridan High School (Northern Local Schools), Thornville, OH.

Share with us where your career has taken you over the years.
Sheridan High School – vo-ag teacher
Ohio Department of Education – assistant state supervisor, Agricultural Education Service
Ohio State University – faculty member in Department of Agricultural Education and then department chair, assistant director of Ohio State University Extension and State 4-H Leader
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Associate Dean, College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental sciences, and professor of Agricultural Education
University of Florida – dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and professor of Agricultural Education

What honors and awards have you been presented over your career?

  • Fulbright Specialist, 2009 – 2013; 2017 – 2021
  • International Educator of the Year, University of Florida International Center, 2016
  • NACTA Murray Brown Leadership Award, 2016
  • UF 150thAnniversary Morrill Act Faculty Award, 2012
  • Distinguished Lecturer, American Association for Agricultural Education, 2011
  • Hall of Fame, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, 2010
  • Honorary State FFA Degree, Florida FFA, 2010
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, 2005
  • University of Illinois Dads Association Outstanding Faculty Award, 2004
  • Russell Guin Outstanding Agricultural Educator, American Association for Agricultural Education, 2004
  • Distinguished Educator Award, National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, 2001
  • Centennial Award, Alpha Zeta National Honorary Fraternity, 1997
  • Fellow, American Association for Agricultural Education, 1996
  • Outstanding Adviser Award, Ohio State University Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council, 1996
  • Honorary Member, Agricultural Education Society, Ohio State University, 1991
  • Distinguished Service Award, Ohio Vocational Agriculture Techers Association, 1991
  • Delegate Coordinator Award, National FFA, 1991
  • Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, 1988 (one of eight awarded annually)
  • Outstanding Young Teacher Award, Ohio State University College of Agriculture, 1986
  • Honorary American Farmer Degree, National FFA Organization, 1985
  • Pomerene Teaching Enhancement Award, Ohio State University College of Agriculture, 1985
  • Outstanding Young Teacher Educator, American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 1984
  • Honorary State FFA Degree, Ohio FFA Association, 1975

Outside of your career, what organizations or activities are you involved with in your community?

  • Various committees and choirs at five United Methodist Churches: First Gainesville, Gainesville Trinity, First Champaign, Grove City, Faith (West Chester), and Somerset
  • President and member, Alpha Gamma Rho National Board of Directors
  • Board of Directors, The Educational Foundation of Alpha Gamma Rho

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The department chair is the most important and most difficult position in a university. My term as chair at Ohio State was very rewarding. We had limited funds (I had to “give back” a lot of operating money my first week on the job!!), but the department thrived because we had an outstanding group of undergraduate and graduate students and a devoted faculty and staff. It was a pleasure to serve as chair of the top department in the country and to watch students over the years become successful teachers and Extension agents, university faculty and administrators, and all-around excellent scholars.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Remember that the undergraduate experience is two-fold: being successful in your academic pursuits and developing personal skills that last a lifetime. Work hard, study hard, become involved, and give back to your alma mater.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
I knew in high school that I wanted to teach vocational agriculture. The department was great in helping me develop the skills I needed to begin and advance in a career in teaching and learning as well as in administration. I still enjoy sharing what I learned with others, especially now with university faculty in the U.S. and abroad.

Speaking as the Ohio FFA President in 1966.

 

Senior photo at Ohio State – 1970

 

Awarded as an Honorary American Farmer in 1985.

 

Ohio State’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1988

 

Speaking at the 2007 commencement for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida as dean.

 

 

Teaching in Saudi Arabia in 2018

 

Alumni Spotlight: Jeffrey Carpenter ’03

 
Jeffrey Carpenter graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 2003. After teaching agricultural education for several years, Carpenter now serves as an assistant principal for the Ohio Central School System and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
[ACEL]: Hi Jeffrey! Why did you select to major in agricultural education?
[Carpenter]: I selected my major of agricultural education, because of the leadership an encouragement of Ron Fuller, my high school agricultural education teacher and Dr. Michael Borger, OSU ATI Beef professor.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I attended the Ohio State University and The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute because of the great professionals and because it is THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY! Is there really any other university?
How did your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
The Ohio State University influenced me to always go above and beyond in helping educate students. I may not be in agricultural education at a public school, but helping individuals who are incarcerated to gain employment and passing on the knowledge and life skills I have learned is very rewarding.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity and Ohio State Horseman’s Association. I also participated in Little Internationa,l where I was able to win the horse showmanship with Ohio State’s stallion, The Flashiest Zip Yet.  My jobs included working at OSU ATI Library and as a part of the Ohio State ATI beef research team. When I went to the Columbus campus I worked for Dr. Alecia Larew-Naugle with Ohio State’s Veterinary Preventative Medicine. Then I was able to complete an internship at OSU meat with Dr. Henry Zerby.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I have two  classes that I have very fond memories.  The animal judging class with Dr. Borger. I enjoyed it because Dr. Borger and Joe Lit made the class fun and it was hands on. The second class was the capstone class with Dr. Zartman. I really enjoyed the animal welfare and animal right class. I guess because of the debates!
 
What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
I would say each and every professor at Ohio State has had an impact on my life. However, if it wasn’t for Dr. Michael Borger, I am not for sure I would have changed my major to agricultural education. You see, it was being selected to be on the Ohio State ATI beef research team that allowed Dr. Borger to see my skills and push me to teach.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Oh my, this would have to be spending time with my fellow brothers at DTS and great friends in Ohio State Horseman’s Association.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job after graduating Ohio State was teaching animal processing and large and small animal veterinary science at Preston County Schools in Kingwood, West Virginia along with being the farm manager. Dr. Alecia Larew-Naugle called me and encouraged me to apply for the position. It was a great fit!
Where has your career taken you over the past 15 years?
I have worked for Preston County Schools and Vinton County Schools as an agricultural education instructor. Today, I am a shared service area assistant principal for Ohio Central School System and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, along with being the owner operator of Carpenters Quarter Horses LLC.
 
During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
I have had the honor of being part of the team of agricultural educators that was honored in having the top Secondary Agricultural Education Program in West Virginia and North Eastern US. The team of Ron Wilson, Beth (Roberts) Myers, Laah Wolford and myself were honor with that great distinction at Preston County Schools in Kingwood, WV.
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
As of today, my great highlights have always been seeing my students succeed.
What advice would you give to a current student?
First piece of advice I would give would be, anything worthwhile is worth doing right. Secondly I would say to take a chance and take positions that challenge you.
 

Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Berthold ’03

 

Elizabeth Berthold ’03 holds a bachelor of science in agricultural education from Ohio State. She is the current landscape and greenhouse management instructor with the Lorain County JVS.

[ACEL]: Hi Elizabeth!Why did you select to major in agricultural education?
[Berthold]: I wanted to help the next generation of agriculturists.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Ohio State was on top of my list, for not only being a great agriculture school, but also I loved the way that campus felt when I first stepped onto it.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Without my education at Ohio State, I would not be the teacher that I am today. It helped to foster my confidence and helped me begin the horticulture program at the JVS.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I worked at the Ohio 4-H Office as a work study student and was involved in Poultry Science Club, Agricultural Education Society and Collegiate 4-H.

What was your first job following your graduation from Ohio State?
I taught for a year at a small school in Indiana – Hamilton Community Schools.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I have taught at Hamilton Community Schools and Lorain County JVS.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I have been the horticulture taxonomy chair for the past few years.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I am so proud of starting the Landscape and Greenhouse Management program at the Lorain County JVS. It was an amazing opportunity to take a program and build it from the ground up.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Take all the opportunities you can, you never know what you will do with your life.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Robin Hovis ’81

Robin Hovis graduated in 1981 with a bachelors degree in agricultural education. Shortly after graduation he became a teacher of vocational agriculture at Crestview Schools, Van Wert County. Hovis is currently a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones Investments.

Why did you select your major or graduate program?
Our family farm was not large enough to support two families so I decided that teaching vocational agriculture at the high school level would be great way to work in agriculture and stay involved with FFA, which was an important aspect of my life in high school. My high school ag teacher, Keith Nowels, was also a major influence in my career choice.Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
It was the only college of agriculture in the state, and I was familiar with the agricutlural campus as a result of FFA activities hosted there.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was active in the Agricultural Education Society and was a charter member of the Student Alumni Council. I also volunteered as a reader for blind students.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I signed-up for a “dessert course” each quarter — my name for a course I took just for the enjoyment of it — as a treat for taking all the math and other required subjects. Theses ended-up  being my favorites, even though I enjoyed the courses in my major field of study. Among my dessert courses were Argumentation and Debate, Ballroom Dancing, Ohio History, Greek and Roman History, Islamic History, Russian Culture, Ancient Hebrew Literature, History of Art, and The English Bible as Literature. Each of these was a fascinating experience.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career?
My faculty advisor, Dr. J. Robert Warmbrod had a major influence in my OSU experience. He took a personal interest in my course planning, and advised me in many decisions which I would not have made as well on my own. Also, Dr. L.H. Newcomb was an outstanding undergraduate professor and made his courses lively and interesting. The late Dr. Rodny Plimpton (Animal Science) and Dr. Bernard Erven (Ag Econ) were also stand-out instructors.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I made several lasting friendships at OSU, and really enjoyed the size and scale of the place. I came from a rural background, and found the size of OSU very different from what I was used to, and thus exciting. Some ag students found this a negative — a necessary evil in order to get their degree, and they went back home each weekend for high school sporting events, etc. But I liked to stay on campus because there was a lot going on! University 4-H hosted square dances in the Ag Admin parking lot, and they were fun.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Teacher of vocational agriculture at Crestview Schools, Van Wert County, Ohio.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?
Vocational agriculture teacher at Crestview Schools in Van Wert County, then area supervisor of agricultural education for the Ohio Department of Education and State FFA Executive Secretary, then I changed careers, leaving agriculture for financial services/investments.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
I was a member of the state board of education for nine years – one term appointed by Governor Bob Taft, and one term elected by the voters. I received the Honorary State and American FFA Degrees, a distinguished service award from the Agricultural Education Society, and a career award from the College of Agriculture. I also received the Dave Kysilko Award for Outstanding Service to State Boards of Education, from the National Association of State Boards of Education.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I am proud of some accomplishments while serving as state FFA executive secretary. I am also proud of having built a successful brokerage practice in Holmes County over the past 29 years.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Be more diligent in doing all the reading assignments for each course — don’t rely only on what you learn in lectures for all that you take away from a course. (In saying that, I am neither admitting nor denying anything!) Broaden your course choices — don’t take only courses in your major — acquire an understanding of the larger world than just your career choice. Don’t stop at the minimum number of courses you need for your degree. I had to have 196 quarter credit hours to graduate. I graduated with 238 quarter credit hours. Some would view those extra 42 credits as a waste of time and money. My mind works differently. It was a bargain! I would not want to have missed any of those courses I took beyond the minimum. Don’t let “minimums” set by others become your “maximums.”

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
I learned “how to learn,” and how to organize activities. I learned how to write a curriculum and a lesson plan, how to teach the lesson, and how to evaluate student learning. All of these skills have great transferability to other careers and other activities in life, because they are disciplines of thinking in an organized way while maintaining a focus on the end result. Teaching is essentially the art and science of finding out what someone already knows about a given subject, and then moving their knowledge or skill to the next level. The ability to do that has broad application in life — well beyond a classroom.

Alumni Spotlight: J. David McCracken ’70 PhD

 
Dr. J. David McCracken graduated from Ohio State in 1970, receiving his PhD in agricultural education.  He is now a professor emeritus at The Ohio State University.
Why did you decide to get a doctoral degree in agricultural education at Ohio Sate?
I was raised on a farm in Iowa, went to Iowa State University, then taught high school and adult farmer agriculture in Charles City, Iowa. My Iowa State University advisor recommended that I attend Ohio State if I wanted to pursue an advance degree at another university. He said that Ohio State was the place to pursue the Ph.D.
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Work with the professors in the department enabled me to obtain a faculty position in the department after graduating with my Ph.D. I worked at the National Center for Research in Vocational Education at Ohio State before moving to the academic department in 1973.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student (student organizations, honoraries, campus jobs, Greek life, etc.):
I was a research associate with the “National Center” during my studies. I abstracted publications for the ERIC Clearinghouse on Vocational Education, which was located at Ohio State.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
My favorite class was in Research Design. It was a class I would later teach.
What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education and career?
Dr. Robert Warmbrod probably had the greatest impact on my career. He was my professor in the research series and later was my department chair. Robert Taylor, who directed the National Center for Research in Vocational Education, was my advisor and provided employment after my graduation with a doctoral degree.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory relates to the faculty and students with which I had the opportunity to work.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked for the ERIC Clearinghouse on Vocational Education as assistant director. I was responsible for acquiring and abstracting documents and entering them into the system.
For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?
After graduating from Iowa State University with a M.S. Degree, I was a Lt. in the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery, teacher of agriculture at Charles City, Iowa, and then at Ohio State I was with the National Center for Research in Vocational Education and the Department of Agricultural Education.
During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
  • President, American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE)
  • Teaching Award of Merit, Gamma Sigma Delta, Honor Society of Agriculture, The Ohio State University;
  • Listed, American Men and Women of ScienceWho’s Who in Education, and Who’s Who in the Midwest;
  • Fellow, Distinguished Service Award, Distinguished Lecturer, AAAE;
  • Author of the Year, The Journal of AATEA, 1986 Volume;
  • Founding Member, Phi Beta Delta, Honor Society for International Scholars, Alpha Epsilon Chapter;
  • Fulbright Scholar, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, 1985-86;
  • President, Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi;
  • Honorary American Farmer Degree, Future Farmers of America;
  • President, American Vocational Education Research Association;
  • Editor, Journal of Vocational Education Research;
  • Member, The Ohio State University Senate;
  • Chair, College Promotion and Tenure Committee;
  • Member College Faculty Council.
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I advised 28 Ph.D. and 46 M.S. students to completion of their degrees. I produced 97 refereed papers, 38 invited papers, 24 non-refereed journal articles, 22 research and development reports, and 18 books or chapters in books. I served as advisor to the Malaysian Student Association and the Thai Student Association at Ohio State. This led to my serving a university in Malaysia as a Fulbright Scholar for my sabbatical year in 1985-86 and three years (1995-1998) after early retirement. I then returned to the U.S. and worked part-time for Ohio State until 2003 and the University of Arizona until 2006.
What advice would you give to a current student?
Work to excel in all that you do. Assume you might someday teach the courses you are taking. Prepare!
What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
ACEL taught me to desire and work for excellence in all that I did. It also taught me that the colleagues with whom I worked  were critically important to the success of all that we do.

After receiving the Honorary American Farmer degree.

 

 

My retirement from Ohio State in 1995.

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Clark ’88, ’94 M.S.

 

Chris Clark ’88, ’94 M.S. completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural education at Ohio State. Following graduation, Clark became the agricultural education instructor for Madison Plains High School and later served as the school principal. He is now the superintendent for Black River School District, where he attended high school.

[ACEL]: Hi Chris! Why did you major in agricultural education?
[Clark]: I selected agriculture education as my major, after I completed agricultural education 200, which requried us to visit a school that offered agriculture education. After I had viewed the classes at the time which were taught at Wellington High School by Mrs. Whittington, I made the decision to major in agricultural education.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I wanted to obtain a college degree and I was the first member of my family to attend college. I also had some personal reasons to attend the Columbus campus.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Agriculture education allowed me to have some diverse training and I was able to choose some classes that allowed me to be very diversified in agriculture. I have used many of the concepts and ideas as both an ag teacher and a school administrator.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in Alpha Zeta Fraternity, Agriculture Education Society and a college ambassador.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed all my classes, the most challenging was animal nutrition classes with Dr. Tyznick and animal science classes with Dr. Plimpton.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Dr. Jim Knight challenged me in my teaching methods classes. Had it not been for a lot of his comments and expectations, I would not have been able to survive my first year as a teacher.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory is just the four years while I was obtaining my BS degree; whether it is in class or student organizations.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I was hired as the agriculture education instructor for Madison-Plains High School.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I was an agriculture education Instructor for the Madison-Plains Local Schools (16 years). I then became the high school principal for
Madison-Plains (10 years) and I am currently the superintendent of the Black River Local Schools.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I was named the Outstanding Young Educator for OVATA (now OAAE). I also served as an officer in that organization.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight was the growth of the students at Madison-Plains and all that we accomplished in the areas of Education and FFA.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Take advantage of all the education you can in college and accept failure and learn from it.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a firm desire to want to be successful.  All the staff I worked with helped push me along.  I have continued to push myself and the persons and students I work with to do as well as you can and accept challenges.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Dennis Hall ’81, ’81 MS

 

[ACEL]: Hi Denny! Why did you select your major?
[Hall]: I always knew that I would study agriculture, but it was my vo-ag teacher, Harold Karcher, that inspired me to study agricultural education. While at Ohio State and as a participant in several student organizations, I observed that many of the ag industry leaders that I looked up to were former ag teachers. My conclusion was that there must be something valuable in the training to become and the discipline of directing a vo-ag program that was good preparation for future endeavors.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
My first thought is to say that there was never any doubt, but that is not true. While agriculture was and remains my passion, I actually explored the idea of going to Wilmington to play basketball. After a campus visit there and watching one of their games, I knew that style of play was not for me. Also, I knew I was not good enough to play basketball for the Buckeyes.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
During my freshman year, I was not very ambitious. I was content to just take classes and play sports. Then I met Dr. L.H. Newcomb. He changed my life. He saw potential in me that I did not see in myself and challenged me to assume a leadership role in the Ag Ed Society. He lit a fire in me that burns to this day. In all honesty, I have no idea who I would have been had it not been for LH.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I lived in Norton/Scott for three years.  After serving as co-chair of the Agricultural Education Society FSR Food Stand committee, I went on to several leadership roles within the College eventually serving as co-chair of the College Recognition Banquet and president of the Council for Agriculture, Home Economics, and Natural Resources (CAHENR) Council. In addition, I was a member of Bucket and Dipper and Sphinx honorary societies.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
Dr. Newcomb had the most life changing impact, but the College community was full of faculty that were incredibly supportive and encouraging. I loved my advisor, Dr. J. Robert Warmbrod. Clarence Cunningham, John Stitzlein, Keith Smith, Jo Jones, and Nikki Conklin also had a major influence on my Extension career.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Ohio State is where I grew up. I went from a kid to being a citizen. The highlight is clearly that I met my wife of 36 years, Lynne, in the Norton-Scott Complex. She has been a terrific partner in life.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I taught Vo-Ag for two years at Ridgedale.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After a couple of ag extension agent retirements in my vicinity, I decided to try that out. I have loved extension work for the 34 years since.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
I served as president of the CFAES Alumni Society and secretary of the Development Board. The Nature Conservancy awarded me their President’s Award for supporting farmer leadership of water quality and watershed management programming.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I am proud of the fact that I have played a significant role in attracting and managing over $30 million in major grants to the College and helping to craft a new vision for advanced bioenergy and biobased products in Ohio. I aspire to see over $1 billion in economic impact during my service at OBIC. To date, I can account for over $600 million in business and programmatic activity as a result of OBIC programs.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Be positive and passionate about the opportunities that you have to serve, whatever the role. Take advantage of opportunities the university provides.
Be intentional about your personal growth and development. Strive to innovate by looking at challenges and opportunities in creative ways.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
My interest in agriculture was transformed into a career of public service and community leadership. There was no way to know the interesting work that would be in my future, but ACEL provided me a foundation to build a fascinating career upon.