UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources names 2012 award recipients
An expert in finding and controlling biothreat agents and a 32-year faculty member and professor emeritus are Outstanding Alumni Award recipients from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.
Presented during Ag Appreciation Weekend Sept. 14 to 15 at UW, Ron and Lynne Pulley also received the Legacy Award, BP America the college's Outstanding Research Partner Award and Professor Emeritus Stephen D. Miller the Andrew Vanvig Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kennedy Gauger received his Ph.D. in 1981 and now is principal scientist in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. The Boulder, Colo., native would use his experience in environmental microbiology and soil science to find and control biothreat agents due to terrorism or through natural presences. He's spent the last 17 years as a technical consultant to the U.S. government defense community.
Gauger's understanding of the science related to biological threats has been instrumental in improving the nation's ability to respond to these threats in the hands of those intent on harming us, said Michael Regester, vice president of Signature Science LLC in his nomination letter.
"In many ways, he also contributed to the safety of the world as a whole," said Regester.
Mervin "Mick" Botkin enrolled at UW in 1942, fought in World War II, returned to UW and graduated in 1948. He received his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 1952 and returned again to UW as an assistant professor in the Animal Production Department. He particularly focused on mentoring students, judging 4-H and state fair livestock contests, publishing articles and manuscripts and contributing his expertise to bettering the Wyoming sheep industry. He retired as professor emeritus in 1984.
Botkin recounts the relationships he developed with colleagues and students.
"I enjoyed knowing them and working with them," Botkin said. "Some of the best memories are the trips I made with students out in the field and putting them to work. We were lucky that a lot of them became good friends."
Ron and Lynne Pulley, formerly of Huntley, recently retired from their 24/7 life in agriculture. They had taken care of just about every four-legged animal a person would find on a farm or ranch. They've lived in western Iowa, eastern Nebraska, Grand Junction, Colo., and Cheyenne then Huntley. The Pulleys raised swine, managed swine operations, Highland cattle, and Ron, in a career turn, worked in banking.
"In a nutshell, we've been agriculturally oriented most of our lives," said Ron Pulley. "Yes, I've had white-collar jobs but until about two years ago, it was 42 years of the famous 24/7, where someone was home taking care of some type of four-legged creature."
The couple established the Seneka Graduate Assistantship in 2008 to fund graduate students studying food and nutrition.
Research Partner Award
BP America is receiving the Outstanding Research Partner Award for its support of reclamation research and its funding for the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center housed in the college.
The funding has paid for several projects with the WRRC to identify effective and timely reclamation practices.
"Getting reclamation right is good business," said Chad Calvert, director, government and public affairs for the Rocky Mountain region. "It's good for the land, it's good for the ranchers, it's good for us, and it's good for the state of Wyoming."
Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Emeritus Stephen D. Miller is the first recipient of the Andrew Vanvig Lifetime Achievement Award, named in honor of the former faculty member and department head in the then-named Department of Agricultural Economics. Miller received his bachelor's degree in agronomy at CSU in 1968; a master's in agronomy at North Dakota State University in 1970; and a Ph.D. in agronomy at NDSU in 1973. Then, Miller spent the next 12 years on the NDSU faculty before he joined UW in 1987. He became director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station in 2005 and retired in 2010.
During his career, Miller finished 65 graduate students at UW and NDSU - 39 master's and 26 Ph.D. students. He said all made and continue to make significant contributions to weed science.
"My biggest enjoyment teaching at UW was working with graduate students and making them productive weed scientists," said Miller.