The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recognized 12 of its finest this week with the D.W. Brooks Awards for Excellence and the CAES Faculty and Staff Support Awards.
The D.W. Brooks Awards and Lecture Series was launched more than 30 years ago in honor of Brooks, an alumnus and former faculty member of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who devoted his career to the improvement of life through contributions to agriculture.
As the founder and chairman emeritus of Gold Kist, Inc., Brooks advised seven U.S. presidents on various agriculture and trade issues. He helped to create the integrated poultry production system that transformed Georgia agriculture during the 20th century, and also started Cotton States Mutual Insurance Companies in 1941 to provide farmers with insurance.
“The list of winners of today’s D.W. Brooks Awards of Excellence are a great testament to him, to the commitment this college continues to have to our land-grant mission and to the legacy of success for our students, our state and agriculture worldwide,” said CAES Dean J. Scott Angle, at the awards ceremony.
The awards highlighted keynote speaker and World Food Prize Foundation president, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, who spoke on agriculture’s power to bring nations together and to ease conflict.
Quinn, who served as rural development advisor in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War and later served as ambassador to Cambodia, told the crowd that he had witnessed the stabilizing impact that infrastructure projects and improved agriculture could have on a country.
He encouraged the students, faculty and staff gathered to view their work in agriculture as having an impact not just on Georgia, but on the world stage.
This year’s award winners included:
- Professor Terence Centner, of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes his work developing the college’s pre-law and environmental law programs, and his innovative instruction in the classroom.
- Professor Timothy Grey, of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. The award recognizes his work combatting herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, and developing weed management strategies to replace a recently banned soil fumigant—methyl bromide.
- Associate Professor Dennis Hancock, of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Extension. The award recognizes his work as the state’s forage specialist and his work promoting sustainable and profitable grazing strategies to farmers across the state and the U.S.
- Janet Hollingsworth, Family and Consumer Sciences program development coordinator for southeastern Georgia, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Public Service Extension. The award recognizes her work developing successful public health, nutrition and safety programing in Appling and Wayne counties.
- Professor Ignacy Misztal, of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Global Programs. The award recognizes his worldwide reputation as an expert on genetic analysis and animal breeding, and the number of international scholars who have come to UGA to study with him.
- Assistant Professor Frank Flanders, of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, won the CAES Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Advisor. The award recognizes his dedication to his position as undergraduate coordinator for agricultural education and his many years spent advising future agricultural educators.
- Brice Nelson, director of student and employer engagement, won the CAES Staff Award for Administrative or Professional Support. Nelson has led the college’s student recruitment efforts for the past decade and has helped to nearly double the college’s enrollment.
- Jay Bauer, senior graphics designer in the Office of Communication and Creative Services, won the CAES Staff Award for Technical Support. Bauer created the college’s mascot, Caesar, when he started at the college 13 years ago. Most recently, he created a museum exhibit to celebrate the centennial of the UGA Extension.
- C.J. O’Mara, senior agricultural specialist, and Brooke Powell, agricultural specialist, of the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center, won the CAES Award for Skilled Trades Support. O’Mara and Powell managed the on-the-ground transition of the 1,055-acre research farm as is it changed hands from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to UGA’s ownership.
- Associate Professor Cesar Escalante, of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, won the D.W. Brooks Diversity Award for Faculty. The award recognizes his work supporting graduate students from diverse backgrounds and his research into discriminatory lending practices and immigration policy.
- Brittnee Thirkield, a graduate student in the department of Food Science and Technology, won the D.W. Brooks Diversity Award for Students. Her award recognizes her role as a mentor to younger students, through both formal and informal interactions.
For more information about the D.W. Brooks Awards program, please visit www.caes.uga.edu/events/dwbrooks.