Savannah, Ga. – In recognition of her work maintaining University of Georgia Extension’s service to Georgians in the face of faltering budgets and changing demands, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia honored UGA Extension director Beverly Sparks on April 14.
Sparks has worked for UGA Extension for 25 years. She started her career as an Extension entomologist and has spent the last eight years as director of UGA Extension and associate dean for Extension in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She will retire July 1.
“Dr. Beverly Sparks has worked for Cooperative Extension her entire career,” said outgoing ACCG president and Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg during an awards luncheon at the ACCG’s annual convention Monday.
“She held true to the position” of associate dean for Extension, he continued. “Even though the economic challenges we have faced over the years were tough, she has persisted. …Today it is my pleasure to celebrate her legacy and to acknowledge a true champion for the citizens that live in Georgia’s counties.”
The Association County Commissioners of Georgia and UGA Extension celebrate their centennials this year, and both groups used the ACCG convention to highlight the role the organizations have played in Georgia.
“Over the past 100 years, we have formed a close partnership to address some of our most pressing issues for our clientele,” Sparks said. “It has been a great partnership.”
In addition to recognizing Sparks for her work, ACCG members adopted a proclamation recognizing the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents and UGA Extension for their years of service to Georgians. This year, the agriculture agents also are celebrating 50 years of their farmhouse exhibit—a showcase and promotion of Georgia-grown agricultural products from producers across the state. A tradition since 1964, it is their way to thank supporters at conventions throughout the year.
Berg presented the proclamation to Sparks; Steve Brown, assistant dean for Extension in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Deborah Murray, associate dean for Extension and outreach in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Greg Price, UGA Extension director of county operations.
UGA Extension was founded in 1914 through the Smith-Lever Act, a federal law that established and funded a state-by-state national network of educators who bring university-based research and practical knowledge to the public. Today, Extension in Georgia is a cooperative effort by federal, state and local government partners administered by the University of Georgia and known as UGA Extension. Throughout 2014, UGA Extension will celebrate the centennial of the national Cooperative Extension Service.
In addition to local celebrations in counties throughout Georgia, UGA Extension has created a multimedia museum exhibit that highlights the impact of Extension over the past century. Located in the UGA Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries in Athens, the display features personal anecdotes and a timeline of important events throughout UGA Extension’s history. The exhibit will open later this spring.
Extension historians also are asking Georgians affected by UGA Extension or Georgia 4-H over the years to share their story at 100years.extension.uga.edu. The website shares the history of UGA Extension through articles, historic photographs, videos, timelines and personal anecdotes.
For more information about UGA Extension, see http://extension.uga.edu/ or call 1-800-Ask-UGA1.