CAFNR stars shine at annual Celebration of Excellence

Every spring CAFNR hosts an event called the Celebration of Excellence that honors faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends who have made an impact within the agricultural community. Two hundred alumni come from all over the state to celebrate in this annual ceremony.

“ We’ve had this this celebration for 14 years now,” said James Hundle, assistant to the Vice Chancellor and Dean and a part of the CAFNR administrative team. “It helps create a culture of folks and recognize those that go above peers. Every organization should have a responsibility of promoting and rewarding their people because people rise to the top and they need to be recognized.”

The Student Council coordinates the students’ portion of the evening and recognizes students who have excelled in CAFNR on and off campus.

“The Celebration of Excellence award ceremony is a great networking opportunity,” said Kody Raines, a senior majoring in agricultural business, and president of the student council. “Students might be uncomfortable so, if necessary, we supply the host and introduce students to these business individuals.”

When it comes to student nominations, the voting committee looks for a student who is well-rounded, has had academic success with a high GPA, and whose involvement within CAFNR has impacted campus. Study abroad also helps the student’s chances because it shows how the student has expanded his or her horizons and taken a risk to study abroad.

“This event is important because in class you get to meet the faculty, but until that point they only see what you do in class,” Raines said. “When everyone comes together students can really show talents and impacts on campus. It will put students in a more positive light and help individuals out and build connections.”

Nominations are solicited about six to seven weeks before the ceremony, about mid-February.

“Even choosing one person is a huge process because each one that applies is phenomenal and outstanding. The fact that we have to pick one is difficult,” Raines said. “I try and reach out to students and encourage them to stick with it even if you don’t win. Apply next year and you’ll see your own personal growth and persevere through rejection.”

The three students who were chosen to receive Outstanding Student awards for 2013 were Morgan Beach, Clarissa Brown, and Kody Raines.

Beach was the Outstanding Freshman of the Year and is currently studying agricultural economics-public policy.

Brown was the Outstanding Sophomore and she majors in agricultural education with an emphasis in teaching and also is minoring in plant science-agricultural economics.

Raines received the Outstanding Junior. He currently studies agribusiness management with a minor in international agriculture. Raines is also the CAFNR Student Council President.

The CAFNR Outstanding Senior will be announced at the spring commencement, May 18.

In addition to the student awards, faculty and staff are also honored for teaching, research and service. The evening culminates with the announcement of the recipients of the Frederick B. Mumford Awards.

The 2013 Mumford Award winners were Gary Stacey, Dale Ludwig, and Randall Smoot.

Stacey is the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council Endowed Professor of Soybean Biotechnology and associate director of the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology.

Ludwig is the Executive Director and CEO of the Missouri Soybean Association and Merchandising Council. He also graduated MU will a degree in animal sciences and agricultural economics.

Smoot is the superintendent of the Greenley Memorial Research Center in Novelty, Mo.

For more information on all of the winners, visit the CAFNR website.

The event was held on April 11, 2013.