The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recognized 12 of its finest with the D.W. Brooks Awards for Excellence and the CAES Faculty and Staff Awards.
The D.W. Brooks Awards and Lecture Series was launched more than 30 years ago in honor of Brooks, an alumnus and former college faculty member who devoted his career to the improvement of life through improvements in agriculture.
As the founder and chairman emeritus of Gold Kist Inc., Brooks advised seven U.S. presidents on various agriculture and trade issues. He helped to create the integrated poultry production system that transformed Georgia agriculture during the 20th century and also started Cotton States Mutual Insurance Companies in 1941 to provide farmers with insurance. Brooks, who started teaching agronomy at UGA in his teens and taught his last class in his 90s, also holds UGA’s record for being both its youngest and its oldest faculty member.
The winners of the D.W. Brooks Awards of Excellence are “a great testament to him, to the commitment this college continues to have to our land-grant mission and to the legacy of success for our students, our state and agriculture worldwide,” said Dean J. Scott Angle at the awards ceremony.
Keynote speaker Kenneth M. Quinn, the World Food Prize Foundation president and a former U.S. ambassador, spoke about agriculture’s power to bring nations together and ease conflict.
Quinn, who served as ambassador to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and later served as ambassador to Cambodia, told those in attendance that he had witnessed the stabilizing impact that infrastructure projects and improved agriculture could have on a country.
He encouraged the students, faculty and staff to view their work in agriculture as having an impact not just in Georgia but also on the world stage.
This year’s Brooks Award winners are:
• Terence Centner, a professor in the agricultural and applied economics department, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes his work developing the college’s pre-law and environmental law programs and innovative instruction in the classroom.
• Timothy Grey, a professor in the crop and soil sciences department, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. The award recognizes his work combating herbicide resistant palmer amaranth-commonly known as pigweed-and developing weed and management strategies to replace the recently banned soil fumigant methyl bromide.
• Dennis Hancock, an associate professor in the crop and soil sciences department, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Extension. The award recognizes his work as the state’s forage specialist and in promoting sustainable and profitable grazing strategies to farmers across the U.S.
• Janet Hollingsworth, the family and consumer sciences program development coordinator for Southeast Georgia, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Public Service and Extension. The award recognizes her work developing successful public health, nutrition and safety programming in Appling and Wayne counties.
• Ignacy Misztal, a professor in the animal and dairy science department, won the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Global Programs. The award recognizes his worldwide reputation as an expert on genetic analysis and animal breeding and the number of international scholars who have come to UGA to study with him.
• Frank Flanders, an assistant professor in the agricultural leadership, education and communication department, won the CAES Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Adviser. The award recognizes his dedication to his position as undergraduate coordinator for agricultural education and his many years spent advising future agricultural educators.
• Brice Nelson, the college’s director of student and employer engagement, won the CAES Staff Award for Administrative or Professional Support. Nelson has led the college’s student recruitment efforts for the past decade and has helped to nearly double the college’s enrollment.
• Jay Bauer, a senior graphic designer in the Office of Communication and Creative Services, won the CAES Staff Award for Technical Support. Bauer created the college’s mascot Caesar when he started at the college almost 14 years ago. Most recently he created a museum exhibit to celebrate the centennial of UGA Extension.
• C.J. O’Mara and Brooke Powell, agricultural specialists with the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center, won the CAES Award for Skilled Trades Support. O’Mara and Powell managed the on-the-ground transition of the 1,055-acre research farm as it has changed hands from USDA to UGA’s ownership.
• Cesar Escalante, an associate professor in the agricultural and applied economics department, won the D.W. Brooks Diversity Award for Faculty. The award recognizes his work supporting graduate students from diverse backgrounds and his research into discriminatory lending practices and immigration policy.
• Brittnee Thirkield, who is pursuing her doctorate in the food science and technology department, won the D.W. Brooks Diversity Award for Students. The award recognizes her role as a mentor to younger students both through formal and informal interactions.