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MI Ag and Natural Resources Leaders Honored
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Lou Anna Simon, MSU president, and Douglas Buhler, interim dean of the CANR, presented awards to alumni, industry leaders, faculty and staff members during the luncheon, which was held as part of the 97th annual ANR Week.

Source: Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Eileen Giandiodis at 517-432-1555, ext. 230


Michigan Agriculture and Natural Resource Leaders Honored During ANR Week Luncheon

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) honored leaders in agriculture and natural resources for leadership at the community, state and national levels today during the annual Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week luncheon at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center.

Lou Anna Simon, MSU president, and Douglas Buhler, interim dean of the CANR, presented awards to alumni, industry leaders, faculty and staff members during the luncheon, which was held as part of the 97th annual ANR Week.

The following awards were presented during the luncheon:

Bill Earl, Branch Area Careers Center (BACC) agriscience teacher, was presented with the Outstanding Agriculture Educator Award. Consumers Energy and the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association present the award annually.

Earl joined the FFA as a sophomore at Reading High School. He served as the Region II state vice president for Michigan FFA in 1977 and 1978 and as a freshman at MSU, he was asked to serve as the interim FFA advisor for Reading and took six students to the National FFA Convention in Kansas City. After finishing his bachelor’s degree at MSU, Earl joined the BACC faculty in Coldwater, Mich., where he remains 27 years later.

Earl has assisted several national agriscience recognition finalists. His team has taught 14 FFA state officers; more than 200 State FFA Degrees and 15 American Degree recipients. The program received the National Agriscience Program of the Year award in 2008 from the National FFA organization.

Earl has served as Region I FFA advisor several times, been a member of the MAAE board of directors and won the Farm Bureau Educator of the Year award. In 1989, Earl received the Honorary State FFA degree and the Honorary American FFA degree in 2006. He was named the Branch County Teacher of the Year 1996 and was the coach of the three state-winning Michigan Envirothon teams.

Earl and his wife, Patti, have three children, Seth, Lucas and Amanda, and two stepchildren, Joshua and Jennifer Brewer.

Weiming Li, professor in the MSU departments of Fisheries and Wildlife and Physiology, was presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award. Li, a widely recognized scientific expert in fish biology, was recognized for his profound impact on science, his students and fisheries resources.

Li earned a bachelor of science degree in fisheries and a master of science degree in fish physiology from Shanghai Fishery University in China and a doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota. His research on sea lamprey biology has allowed for a better understanding of the invasive and highly destructive fish. Research from Li’s laboratory identified a lamprey pheromone that not only provided a way of controlling this invasive species in the Great Lakes but also resulted in the award of a patent.

Li has helped management organizations develop effective and efficient Great Lakes fisheries integrated management systems. During the last 10 years, Li has collaborated with chemists and biologists at MSU and around the world. He has attracted many postdoctoral associates, students and visiting professors with diverse backgrounds and interests to join his laboratory.

A widely published researcher, Li’s lab received the first experimental use permit ever issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for release into the environment of a synthesized vertebrate pheromone that he developed. He has worked to support the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the National Institutes of Health.

The CANR Alumni Association also conferred awards honoring outstanding work within agriculture and natural resources education, industries and organizations, and strong commitment to the college.

An Honorary Alumnus Award was presented to Dennis L. Grinold. Fishing the Great Lakes since 1973, Grinold operates a charter fishing operation from Grand Haven, Mich.

In addition to being an active advocate for productive Great Lakes fisheries, Grinold has provided a platform to introduce dozens of rising fisheries professionals to the industry and the value of Great Lakes fisheries.

Grinold has served on more than 20 boards and commissions since 1983, most notably as Michigan’s gubernatorial choice to serve as advisor on the U.S. Committee of Advisors to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, where he currently serves as chair. Among his honors from state and national organizations, Grinold received the only lifetime membership to the Michigan Charter Boat Association in 1996.

Grinold has led efforts to prevent the Asian carp invasion of the Great Lakes by meeting with congressional members to discuss the importance of the $7 billion fishery to those who live, work and recreate in the region. He was an essential partner in developing a research and Extension agenda for Great Lakes fisheries.

Grinold is known throughout the Great Lakes region among Americans and Canadians for his commitment, insight and determination to secure a better future for the lakes.

George A. Purvis was presented with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Throughout his professional career, Purvis has bridged the gap between the disciplines of food science and human nutrition, improving public health globally though efforts aimed at improving infant and child nutrition.

Purvis earned a doctorate in food science from MSU. His research focused on amino acid composition of proteins and the impact on the quality of dietary proteins. As vice president of research and development at the Gerber Product Company, his landmark infant nutrition survey, “What Babies Really Eat,” set the bar for understanding the nutritional impact of infant feeding practices. This logical look at what infants eat, assessed by asking mothers what they feed their children, has been replicated countless times nationally and internationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now uses this framework to build the national infant feeding picture.

Purvis served on the International CODEX Alimentarius commission of the United Nationals and recommended policies that have had profound impact on infant nutrition programs. He has received numerous recognitions and honors including being named a fellow in the American College of Nutrition and in the Institute of Food Technologists. He received a Sigma Xi Scientific Honorary Award, an MSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition Outstanding Alumnus Award and an MSU Human Ecology Outstanding Alumnus Award.

He has served on several national and international committees, which have established positions that enhance the nutritional value of infant food products. Purvis has been a contributor to broad-based scientific organizations and endeavors, including the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, MSU AgBioResearch, the Rackham Foundation Board of Governors and the International Life Sciences Institute.

Another Outstanding Alumnus Award was presented to John M. Clark. A 1967 graduate of MSU’s construction management program, As chairman of the board for Clark Construction Co. he led the company in accomplishing notable projects at MSU, including the $66.5-million, 260,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of Spartan Stadium, the $49.8-million Brody Hall renovations and the $10-million Main Library expansion and renovation.

He has received numerous awards, among them the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction Management Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009. He is a six-time winner of the Associated General Contractors Build Michigan Award and a three-time winner of the Michigan Business and Professional Association’s 101 Best and Brightest Award.

Clark and his wife Mary donated $250,000 to the construction management program in the School of Planning, Design and Construction to help support the undergraduate Construction Management Competition Team participate in out-of-state events. She has served as president of MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Technical University of Dortmund (Germany) was presented with the Distinguished Partner in Study Abroad Programs Award. Since 1984, MSU’s School of Planning, Design and Construction and its prior units have enjoyed a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with Technical University (TU) to advance understanding and scholarship on landscape architecture and urban planning as it relates to the sustainable built environment. For almost 30 years, faculty members and students from MSU and TU Dortmund have visited each other and run exchange programs for study abroad.

Mark Rey was presented with the Distinguished Service Award. Rey is the Demmer Scholar Executive in Residence at MSU. He leads the William A. Demmers Scholars Program, a summer course in Washington, D.C., where students learn about the federal government and participate in a paid internship with an agency or organization focusing on natural resources and policy.

In the summer of 2009, 12 students participated in the inaugural 12-week program. Rey engaged students in a three-credit course, Elements of Federal Policy Development in the National Resources Arena. The program expanded to 24 students in 2011 and 28 to 30 in 2012.

Rey also teaches an MSU course on Advocacy in the National Resources Arena each fall. He earned a master of science in natural resources policy and administration and bachelor’s degrees in forestry and wildlife management from the University of Michigan. In addition to his work at MSU, Rey serves as a consultant for the Livingston Group. From 2001 to 2009 he was the U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for national resources and environment, where he was in charge of the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The ANR Week luncheon is hosted annually by the CANR, MSU AgBioResearch, MSU Extension and the CANR Alumni Association, with support from Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association.

Additional sponsors include the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, the Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies, the Michigan Milk Producers Association, the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, the MSU School of Packaging Alumni Association, Techmark, Inc., The Andersons, Inc. and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.