Drainage Hall of Fame


The international “Drainage Hall of Fame” was established in the Agricultural Engineering Department at The Ohio State University in 1979. It is dedicated to Virgil Overholt, Professor of Agricultural Engineering (1915 – 1956), for 42 years of outstanding service in education and research on agricultural drainage. The Drainage Hall of Fame at The Ohio State University was dedicated to the memory of Virgil Overholt on March 9, 1979.

Professor Overholt’s outstanding achievement was the 42 years which he spent as a teaching and extension specialist in Agricultural Engineering at The Ohio State University. He was a gentle and sensitive person with high regard for his fellow man. His keen interest in people and helping solve their problems was one of his outstanding abilities. His specialty was agricultural drainage and other related soil and water conservation problems. He developed many charts and mimeographed materials for making sound recommendations prior to development of present standards. He was one of the leaders in this field of work. In Ohio, he was referred to as “Mr. Drainage,” and was highly regarded by his students, his colleagues, and farmers throughout the state. Throughout his career, he developed a keen sense of observation and an outstanding ability to remember names, places, and events.

Starting in 1979, an annual Hall of Fame award has been given to an outstanding person who has made significant contributions to the development and use of drainage in agricultural production for an extended period of time. The Drainage Hall of Fame Award, in honor of Virgil Overholt, has international scope. Persons eligible for nomination include those who have provided extensive service to the science, art, engineering, and/or practice of agricultural drainage and water management in any of the following areas: teaching, extension education, research, technology development, consulting, contractor training, implementation and practice, leadership in the agricultural drainage industry at the state or national level, etc. Nominations are due before October 1 of each year for that year’s award. Each nomination is considered for a total period of three years before an updated nomination form must be resubmitted. Forms and instructions are available from the Executive Director of the International Program for Water Management in Agriculture, The Ohio State University.

Recognition of Professor Overholt

  • Superior Service Award, USDA, 1956
  • John Deere Medal, American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1961
  • Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, 1969
  • Distinguished Service Award, OSU, 1971
  • Honorary Life Member, Ohio Land Improvement Contractor’s Association
  • Registered Professional Engineer
  • American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Chair, Soil & Water Division
  • Soil Conservation Society of America, Member
  • Ohio State University Council, Member
  • Extension Professors Association, Member
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, President, Ohio Chapter
  • Evangelical-United Brethren Church, Chair, Board of Trustees

Previous Drainage Hall of Fame Honorees, 1979 – 2022

Posters from the 2022 International Drainage Hall of Fame induction ceremony