Published on 10/06/08

UGA honors faculty with D.W. Brooks awards

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia

Six trail-blazing University of Georgia faculty members were honored Oct. 7 in Athens, Ga., during the annual D.W. Brooks Lecture and Faculty Awards for Excellence ceremony.

Presented by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the award program honors Gold Kist Inc. founder D.W. Brooks. A CAES alumnus, Brooks advised seven U.S. presidents on agriculture and trade issues. Although he died in 1999, his promotion of agriculture lives on through the awards.

The 2008 award winners are Kathy Baldwin in public service extension, Clifton Baile distinguished professor, Joseph McHugh in teaching, Michael Strand in research, Jonathan ‘Tim’ Williams in global programs and Jeanna Wilson in extension.

Baldwin, the UGA Cooperative Extension agent in Bleckley County, received the public service award. Baldwin knew from the time she was a senior in high school that she wanted to someday be a county agent. For the past 24 years, she has encouraged her 4-H’ers to be the best they can be.

Her 4-H membership currently is 750. Thirty-five of her members have become master 4-H’ers. Five have become county agents. One is currently employed on the state 4-H staff.

A Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Agricultural Biotechnology, Baile received the distinguished professor award. His career has spanned 35 years and includes experience at UGA, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, SmithKline Beecham and Monsanto Company. He has helped create seven companies and currently serves on the board of directors of AgGlobalVision, Inc., Angionics, Inc., AptoTec, Inc., InsectiGen, Inc., MetaMorphix, Inc., Oncose, Inc. and rPeptide, LLC. He is a member of the Georgia BIO Board and the Louisiana Gene Therapy Research Consortium.

He has directed drug research and development projects from the discovery stage to commercialization. He has served as a consultant to more than 20 companies, including several in the top Fortune 50. As chief executive officer and chairman of the board of AptoTec, Inc. and InsectiGen, Inc., he manages research, development and commercialization programs.

A UGA professor of entomology, McHugh received the teaching award. He teaches courses like insect taxonomy and principles of systematics. He has been the main advisor for 12 graduate students, served on the advisory committees for 35 students and has advised or been thesis reader for several honors program students. He advises the H.O. Lund Entomology Club, too.

Since arriving at UGA, McHugh has received the H. H. Ross Outstanding Teaching Award and is a three-time winner of the H. O. Lund Outstanding Faculty Award. In 2006, he won the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America. In 2007, he was honored with the national ESA Distinguished Teaching Award.

Strand received the research award. He studies parasite-host interactions, including the roles insects play in the transmission of several plant, animal and human diseases and parasites play in controlling insect pest populations.

He joined the UGA faculty in 2001. In 2006, he earned the title of Distinguished Research Professor. Strand holds joint or affiliated appointments in the CAES, Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, the Faculty of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Genetics.

Director of the federal Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program, Williams received the global programs award. He began his career in the National Research Program of Zimbabwe as a peanut physiologist. He later joined the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics where he studied peanut, cowpea and millet and the application of models in crop improvement systems. In 1995, he joined the UGA faculty and became the associate director of the Peanut CRSP. In 1997, he became its director.

The Peanut CRSP connects American peanut scientists with counterparts in developing countries to solve problems for peanuts. He streamlines research management while expanding his interest in the aflatoxin and utilization aspects of the peanut industry.

A UGA professor of poultry science, Wilson received the extension award. She has a national and international reputation in broiler breeder management. Her work on improving breeder fertility alone saves Georgia poultry breeders more than $6 million annually.

Since joining UGA in 1988, Wilson has solved problems in hatchery and breeder management. She works to improve flock productivity, fertility and hatchability through field studies and applied research on feed restriction programs, hen nesting preferences, pattern of egg production, rooster mating activity, semen quality, embryo viability and egg contamination. Today’s breeder houses are designed based on her recommendations.

(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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