More than $229,000 was awarded to students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls at their Annual Scholarship and Awards Recognition Program on April 20. Students, donors, faculty and honored guests made up the nearly 200-person audience. The 170 scholarships were awarded to continuing students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors in the 2023-24 academic year.
Four new scholarships were among those awarded:
* The Adeline and Oliver Lerum Family Scholarship. Oliver was an agricultural education graduate who taught at Seymour High School and Fox Valley Technical College.
* The Jane E. Jeffrey Memorial Scholarship honors her love, concern and special bond with animals.
* The Jan Roberts Yde Water Scholarship in memory of Yde, a UWRF alum, and founder and CEO of Sioux Valley Environmental of Sioux Falls, S.D.
* The St. Croix Valley Chapter of the Prairie Enthusiasts Scholarships to support students who will protect, preserve and manage native prairie and oak savanna.
The college also recognized one of UWRF’s industry/organization partners for their service, presenting the 2023 Outstanding Service Award to the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE). Roger King, past president of WAAE, was on hand to accept the award. WAAE has been instrumental in providing assistance in preparing agricultural education students for their future careers. WAAE monetary support opens up national scholarship opportunities for the students, they organize tours for pre-service teachers to observe and discuss the program planning and structures of different ag programs, and they introduced an “official” signing event at the Wisconsin FFA State Convention giving increased recognition to students choosing this career path.
To wrap up the evening, Interim Dean of CAFES Dean Olson presented the 2023 CAFES Outstanding Faculty Award to Agricultural Education Professor Tim Buttles. This is the highest award bestowed upon a faculty member in the college. Nominations are submitted by faculty peers and the selection is made by the College Awards and Promotions Committee. The awardee is also honored nationally with the Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) in recognition of meritorious efforts in college teaching.
Nomination materials described Buttles, of Glenwood City, as a student-centered faculty member who has contributed greatly to the preparation of our current students, our alumni, and the state of Wisconsin. The nomination described how Buttles demonstrates his commitment to students, including how he consistently seeks out and incorporates new teaching techniques and technologies to not only enhance his classes, but also to allow students the opportunity to learn the ‘how’ of using these teaching tools.
Olson highlighted Buttles’ commitment to the college, the university and the state by referencing the annual Agricultural Technology Contest. Buttles has organized the event for the past 22 years. Olson conservatively estimated that under Buttles’ leadership, the contest brought more than 15,000 high school and middle school students to the UWRF campus.
Buttles’ nomination concluded noting how the CAFES centennial motto truly fits him: Always for our students; Always to the best of our ability; Always so our students may achieve their greater purpose.
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