Dr. Charles W. Lifer: ’61, ’66 MS, ’69 PhD

Dr. Charles W. Lifer graduated from Ohio State in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in agricultural education in 1966. Now retired, Dr. Lifer splits his time between Ohio and Florida.

[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Lifer. Why did you select your major or graduate program?
[Lifer]: Dr. Richard Wilson, professor in agricultural education and my undergraduate advisor, encouraged me to major in agricultural education because it provided the best employment opportunities in teaching and extension.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
My high school vocational agriculture teacher encouraged me to go to college and attend Ohio State.

 How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career?
My degree in agricultural education and extension education opened many doors beginning with employment as a county 4-H extension agent all the way to State 4-H Leader and professor in agriculture education.

As a student, how were you involved?
I was involved in Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity, Townsend Agricultural Education Society, and part time employment Ohio State University Cancer Research Lab.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Dr. Warmbrod’s agricultural education research methods, Dr. Miller’s agricultural engineering drawing, and Dr. Powell’s Business Administration. Dr. Warmbrod’s agricultural education research methods, because he made a difficult subject interesting and understandable.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on our education/career?
Dr. Clarence Cunningham and Dr. Robert McCormick, who encouraged me to pursue a career in Extension and get a PhD.  This advice opened up career opportunities at the state level requiring a doctorate.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
As State 4-H leader and professor in agricultural education, I proposed the establishment of a State 4-H Center on the OSU Campus and followed through in getting it done.  This required University approval, site location, fund raising and personal gifting.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
County 4-H Agent in Monroe County, Ohio and the first 4-H Agent to be hired as County 4-H Agent and Chair.  Previously all county chairs were agricultural agents.

For what companies have you worked throughout your career?
All of my employment following graduation was with Ohio State in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Ohio State Extension. This included County 4-H Agent, Monroe County; Area 4-H Agent, McConnelsville; Area Community Development Agent, Dover; State Leader Extension Studies and Evaluation, Columbus; Professor and State 4-H Leader, Columbus; and Director of Legislative Affairs, Columbus.  Most of these positions included administrative responsibilities.

Can you share any awards or honors you have received?
Many including Honorary State FFA Degree, Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame, National 4-H Hall of Fame, Regional Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award, Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, and Ohio State Distinguished Service Award.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Getting the $16 million dollar 4-H Center on the Ohio State Campus and as Area Community Development Agent in Dover, building the Outdoor Historical Drama amphitheater (Trumpet in the Land) and hiring recognized Author, Paul Green.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Choose an area of interest where there are great employment opportunities after graduation.  There is nothing worse than graduating with a college degree and no jobs available.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Through the agricultural education student teaching and extension field experience it helped to have real world job experience.  The teachers and extension trainer agents were great mentors in preparing for my career after graduation.

Lifer as a high school senior.