Orion Samuelson to give inaugural Litton Lecture Oct. 15

The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation will co-sponsor the Inaugural Litton Lecture.

The event is a part of the Jerry Litton Leadership Series and will be held on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The reception will begin at 7 p.m. in Monsanto Auditorium in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center on MU’s campus. Orion Samuelson, Agribusiness Director of RFD-TV WGN Radio Chicago, will present the lecture.

“The entire overarching idea of the Jerry Litton Fund for Agricultural Leadership is to promote leadership in students,” said Christine Pickett, CAFNR’s director of external relations and Inaugural Litton Lecture coordinator.

The lecture is in remembrance of MU graduate Jerry Litton, who died in a tragic airplane accident in 1976, shortly after winning a Democratic primary bid for the U.S. Senate.

Litton graduated from CAFNR in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and a minor in agricultural economics. Following graduation he returned to his hometown of Chillicothe, Mo., to assist with his parents’ successful cattle-breeding business.

In 1971, Litton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and worked as an advocate for the rights of farmers and hardworking citizens. His colleagues often called him “a breath of fresh air in Washington.”

“Jerry Litton was a very influential student while he was here and also beyond when he went back to the community of Chillicothe, Mo. and became very active in the community and later into politics,” said Jon Simonsen, director of undergraduate studies and assistant professor of the MU agricultural education and leadership program.

Simonsen teaches the Litton Leadership Scholars class and hopes that students not only get a sense of Litton’s life through this lecture, but that they also follow in his footsteps as leaders.

Orion Samuelson, the event mediator, has served as WGN Radio agribusiness director since 1960. Samuelson gives daily agriculture and business reports on WGN, and is heard daily on 32 radio stations with his National Farm Report. Samuelson was inducted to the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 1985, and has also been inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame, the NAFB Hall of Fame, and received the highest award in the radio broadcasting industry when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago in November 2003.

“We hope [Orion] will talk to students about something that will help them their whole career, not just their school careers,” Pickett said.

The event is free to the public. For more information, contact Pickett at 573-884-0691 or by email at pickettc@missouri.edu.

By Mallory Tucker
Corner Post Staff Writer