Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Gary Straquadine, ’87

Dr. Gary Straquadine completed his PhD in agricultural education at Ohio State in 1987 after growing up in New Mexico and attending New Mexico State University for his bachelor’s degree. He served as the chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership at Ohio State from 2012-2015. He now serves as the vice chancellor for Utah State University Eastern and is a vice provost for Utah State University.


[ACEL]: Dr. Straquadine, why did you chose agricultural education as your doctoral program?
[Straquadine]: My program matched my career goal to improve the world through agriculture and extension education.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
OSU is the best graduate program for agricultural education. Many of my agricultural education heroes attended The Ohio State University and I was fortunate to experienced their expertise and leadership. Plus, my dad graduated from The Ohio State University in 1951, thanks to the G.I. Bill and my mom’s persistent. She worked for cooperative extension and 4-H in Campbell Hall while Dad went school. We were one of the few Buckeye families in New Mexico.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I completed my PhD in 1987 and was well prepared for a career in teacher preparation, research, and outreach. I learned how to learn and how to align my strengths and interests. I was fortunate to take on leadership position at Utah State University where I applied much of what I learned in the agricultural education graduate program.

What courses did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed the four course research series taught the best of the best – Drs. Miller, Barrick, Warmbrod, and Van Tilburg. I also learned much about teacher education from Dr. Don Cruickshank. I am grateful every day for the many great professors and mentors I had back in the mid-1980s.

What professor had an impact on you during your time at Ohio State?
My advisor, Dr. Kirby Barrick, was and still is a great mentor. His acceptance and patience with me is worthy of sainthood in any church. I am sure he earned his double-digit merit and hazardous duty pay during my time at OSU.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Football season was a world class experience, complemented by the comradery of life among the other graduate students (Cano, Christmas, Denton, Newman, Odell, and Trefz,).

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Utah State University, assistant professor and assistant department chair.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
Utah State University and The Ohio State University.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
I was selected Teacher of the Year in the College of Agriculture at Utah State University three times. I was also awarded Distinguished Professor in the College of Agriculture. I was selected Advisor of the Year for the entire university a few years ago. I have run many, many marathons. Maybe too many.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Preparing agricultural education teachers and county extension agents. Even in my higher level administrative positions, I have always found great satisfaction in preparing formal and non-formal educators for the diverse agricultural profession.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Experience university life to its fullest. But learn to delay gratification by living within your means. Learn how to fail and fail fast. Take responsibility for your mistakes and make amends.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
Humility and gratitude. Both are essential and connected. Humility keeps me teachable. Gratitude reminds me that I am but one of several thousand graduates from the department and I have benefitted beyond anyone’s (and everyone’s) expectations. I am proud to be a Buckeye.


Straquadine finishes one of his many marathons with his grandson, both wearing Buckeye gear out west!

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