Alumni Weekend Registration Open

March 7, 2012 under CANR News, Events

Online registration for the fourth annual UD Alumni Weekend is now open at the UD Alumni Weekend website.  This event, held June 1-3 and hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, is the University’s premier alumni event, and more than 3,500 alumni and friends are expected to return to campus for a weekend to connect with the University and fellow Blue Hens.

Event highlights include Friday’s college receptions, the Mug Night Dela-bration, the Brunch on The Green, the President’s State of the University, the Alumni Wall of Fame induction ceremony and reunion parties for the classes of 1962, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007. In addition, attendees will be able to stay overnight at the Independence Complex residence halls for a very affordable rate.

Alumni are encouraged to register today to take advantage of “Early Hen” pricing — $5 off for Friday’s Mug Night Dela-bration. While “Early Hen” pricing ends on Tuesday, May 1, online registration for Alumni Weekend will be open until Tuesday, May 29.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is hosting a special reception for its alumni on Friday night prior to Mug Night and is sponsoring several Saturday workshops.  Visit the website for details.

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UD alum Steven Leath named president of Iowa State University

February 14, 2012 under CANR News

University of Delaware alumnus Steven Leath has been named the 15th president of Iowa State University. Leath started his new position on Jan. 16 and he said of the appointment, “I’m very excited, a little bit humbled and very pleased to be here.”

Leath said that he hopes to continue to make Iowa State a great place for undergraduate and graduate education.

“We’re going to continue to provide a real hands on, high quality undergraduate educational experience,” he said, “and we’re going to make our research very responsive to the needs of the state. We want to be the best place for public/private partnerships so that industry is drawn to Iowa State and cooperating with Iowa State.”

Before becoming president of Iowa State, the nation’s first land grant university, Leath served as vice president for research and sponsored programs for the University of North Carolina system. He also served as the associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and as director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service at North Carolina State University.

Leath has received three plant science degrees, earning his bachelor’s from Pennsylvania State University, his master’s from UD and his doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Illinois.

Leath received his master’s degree from UD in 1981, studying in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and he remembers fondly his time in Newark, specifically the Saturday morning lab sessions with his fellow Blue Hen researchers.

“The Saturday morning lab sessions were some of my favorite memories because it seemed more informal,” he said. “We all got along and there was a lot of camaraderie, a lot of exchange of ideas, ranging from scientific discussions to sports discussions.”

Another aspect that sticks with Leath is the time he spent conducting research in southern Delaware. “I loved going to the research farm in Georgetown. That was really great. The drive was nice and it was just a great place to do your field work,” Leath said, explaining that he conducted his master’s thesis research on root disease in soybeans.

He credits his time and his professors at UD — specifically Robert Carroll and James Hawk, professor of plant and soil sciences and professor at the Agricultural Experiment Station — for preparing him for the future, saying, “The University of Delaware did a real good job of transforming college graduates into independent researchers.”

Of course, he also remembers UD fondly because it is where he met his wife, Janet, who was also a student. “I met my wife of 30 years there and as it turns out, she’s had a huge positive effect on my career,” Leath said, adding, “It’s probably hard to quantify that, but it’s a big deal.”

They both returned to the campus in 2010 when Leath received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Distinguished Alumni Award, and he said that the University still holds a special place in their lives. “We just still have fond memories and great affection for the University of Delaware. We always remember it as a beautiful campus, but it’s more beautiful than ever.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily

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Diamond combines military background with veterinary passion

February 8, 2012 under CANR News

Growing up in a military family, University of Delaware graduate Danielle Diamond always told her parents — specifically her father, who had a career in the Navy — that she would join ROTC if it weren’t for her love of animals and her interest in veterinary medicine. Now, as she serves as a military veterinarian stationed in England, Diamond gets to experience the best of both worlds.

Diamond, who graduated from UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2005, said she was first made aware of the opportunity to combine the two fields through the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program, which she discovered while attending the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

She said that the program is “a bit like the ROTC program.  I received a two-year scholarship and owed back three years of active duty service once I graduated.  I completed vet school, was commissioned as a captain in the United States Army and pretty much put a uniform on for the first time on June 1, 2009.”

Diamond is now serving as the officer in charge of the veterinary treatment facility at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Feltwell facility, and she explained that there are many facets to her job as a veterinarian in the military.

“Our primary concern is the military working dogs.  I oversee two kennels here with roughly 20 dogs.  We provide their routine and emergency care,” said Diamond, explaining that she also examines the animals that are owned by military personnel or retirees, administering preventive medicines to the animals — such as vaccines, flea and tick control — and spaying and neutering the animals.

Though her main focus is the military working dogs, Diamond helps out with food audits, as well, making sure the food and water that is distributed to the military base is safe to consume. She also works closely with the public health department to manage potential rabies cases, although she notes that the United Kingdom is considered “rabies-free.”

Because she works at “the only veterinary treatment facility in the U.K. for military members” other than pricey private practices, Diamond explained that she makes quarterly trips to three neighboring military bases to look at their animals. She and her staff also go to child development centers to monitor the health of their pets, and volunteer with scouting and school-age groups to “expand animal awareness and provide education.”

Of all her duties, Diamond said that working with the military working dogs is her favorite part of the job. “Those dogs are at the top of my priority list, 24/7.  When anything happens with one of those dogs, from vaccines to an emergency surgery, I’m the one who will be called in to handle it.”

Keeping the dogs in top physical form is key to their success, as Diamond explains that if a dog is sick or misses a routine veterinarian appointment, that dog is not going to work out as well or could even “miss out on the opportunity to deploy.”

Diamond said that watching the dogs work together as a team is “an awesome thing.  It’s especially rewarding when you see some of these young enlisted folks come in and take responsibility for their dog and work out the kinks in their performance.  Those dogs and their handlers save lives, and I want those dogs that are patrolling for drugs or explosives to be at their best physical being in order to keep our American military members safe at all times.”

In the end, Diamond says that what matters most to her is making sure that her patients stay healthy and alert. “It doesn’t matter if that dog’s job is making a small, safe base even safer or joining a Navy SEAL team to take down a bad guy like Osama Bin Laden — I want to be able to say I did the best job at keeping that dog healthy and capable of doing a great job.”

Time at UD

Before she even realized that she could combine her military background with her interest in veterinary medicine, Diamond was an undergraduate in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Diamond graduated from UD in 2005, with a bachelor of science degree in animal science, and a concentration in pre-veterinary medicine and minors in wildlife conservation and biological sciences.

Diamond was an active Ag Ambassador, a program with which she wanted to get involved after being shown around the campus by an ambassador when she visited UD as a high school student.

“When I came and interviewed at UD, I spent a day there with an Ag Ambassador and I got to go to some classes and spend some time out on the farm, and that kind of sealed the deal for me when I was going to visit schools, because it was such an interpersonal relationship and I really got to see the school and talk to somebody one on one,” Diamond said.

She added that once she became an Ag Ambassador, she was heavily involved with the program, “I did a lot of events when I was there. I think we had to do four events a semester and I think I did about 75 by the time I graduated.”

Besides the fond memories of working with Karen Aniunas, director in University Development and an instructor in CANR, and the Ag Ambassadors, Diamond recalls fondly traveling to New Zealand during a Winter Session study abroad trip with Lesa Griffiths, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, and working with Limin Kung, professor of animal and food sciences, in the Ruminant Nutrition Lab. “Dr. Kung took me on for a research lab position to earn some extra money, linked me up to a local large animal veterinarian to gain experience, and ultimately became my adviser and a good friend.”

She encourages current UD students to go out and get involved in both the campus and the community. “There are a ton of opportunities both on the campus as well as at your fingertips, as Delaware is a very agricultural state,” Diamond said. “It will benefit you, your school, and the community.”

Diamond does have one regret, however, and that is graduating before the UDairy Creamery opened for business.

“I just want to make it known that I’m a bitter alumni in that the UD Creamery opened after I had graduated!” Diamond joked, adding that she made the mistake of one day perusing the UDairy Creamery menu on the website and longed for a taste. “Guess I need to plan a visit back…”

Article by Adam Thomas

This article was originally published on UDaily

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Department of Plant and Soil Sciences cultivates next leaders

November 28, 2011 under CANR News

University of Delaware-trained plant and soil scientists continue to build on the institution’s stellar reputation, with six winning recent national honors.

One graduate student and five graduate alumni of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) were presented awards by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) and the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) at the national meetings of the societies in San Antonio, Texas.

Honorees are alumni Josh McGrath, Chad Penn and Amy Shober, who were advised by Tom Sims, CANR deputy dean and T.A. Baker Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry; Daniel Strawn and Kirk Scheckel, who were advised by Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute; and Sudarshan Dutta, who recently completed his doctorate under the direction of Shreeram Inamdar, associate professor of plant and soil sciences.

Josh McGrath, a distinguished young CANR alumnus who earned his doctorate degree in plant and soil sciences in 2004, received the SSSA S6 Young Scholar Award, which recognizes young scientists who have made an outstanding contribution in Soil and Water Management and Conservation within seven years of completing their Ph.D.

McGrath is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, and his research interests include nutrient management and environmental sustainability. McGrath leads an active research and extension program aimed at providing science-based, reliable and cutting-edge information in the arena of agricultural nutrient management, nutrient use efficiency, non-point source nutrient pollution and water quality protection.

In just a few short years, McGrath’s work has become widely recognized for its impact on sustaining agricultural productivity and improving environmental quality in the mid-Atlantic region.

Chad Penn, who earned his master’s degree in 2001, received the SSSA S-11 Young Investigator Award, which recognizes worthy professionals who have made an outstanding contribution in soils and environmental quality research within seven years of completing their terminal degree. The award comes with a certificate of recognition and $500.

Penn has worked at Oklahoma State University since 2005 as an assistant professor of soil and environmental chemistry. His current research is focused on water quality, the re-use of industrial by-products in agriculture and for environmental protection, nutrient and animal waste management, transport of phosphorus to surface waters, and thermodynamics of sorption and other soil chemical processes via isothermal titration calorimetry.

Amy Shober, who received her doctorate in plant and soil sciences from UD in 2006, won the ASA Environmental Quality Section Inspiring Young Scientist Award, which is awarded to professionals who have made an outstanding contribution toward sustaining agriculture through environmental quality research, teaching, extension or industry activity within seven years of completing their terminal degree.

Shober works as an assistant professor of landscape soil and nutrient management in the Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida. Her research and Cooperative Extension appointments focus on nutrient management in Florida’s urban landscapes.

Daniel Strawn, who received his doctorate from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in 1999, received the Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson Soil Science Award. Strawn is a professor of soil chemistry at the University of Idaho and his program focuses on research and teaching of soil chemistry and mineralogy with a special emphasis on the discovery of chemical and mineral speciation in soils. He is an associate editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Strawn joins a long list of UD plant and soil sciences graduates who have received the Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson award. Sparks was the first recipient of the award in 1991 and since then five graduates of the department have received the distinguished award.

Kirk Scheckel, who received his doctorate from UD in 2000 and won the Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson award in 2010, was named a fellow of the ASA and SSSA.

Scheckel is a research soil scientist in the National Risk Management Research Laboratory of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He is an adjunct faculty member at Ohio State University and his research focuses on element speciation in soils, sediments and water to elucidate reaction mechanisms that influence fate in the natural environment. He served as associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality and as chair of S-11, a division of SSSA. He is active in SSSA, ASA and the American Chemical Society.

Sudarshan Dutta, who recently completed his doctorate in the department, was awarded the SSSA S-11 Soil and Environmental Quality Graduate Student Award.

Dutta received a certificate and $500 for his achievement, and impressed the award committee with his research record and the contributions he has made in the area of soil and environmental quality.

Sparks said of the awards and what they mean to the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, “They’re just a testament to the quality of our graduate studies programs and the training the students get. It also indicates the reputation the University’s programs have built — people recognize that those who come out of these programs are really first rate. Over the years we’ve developed a strong program in soil science that is recognized nationally and internationally.”

Part of this strength, according to Sparks, is derived from the ability to attract outstanding students to the graduate program. “You attract good students and then you give them a fair amount of freedom,” he said. “It is a combination of having bright students working on significant research problems, and giving them the flexibility and the freedom to pursue knowledge.”

Sparks also pointed out the outstanding equipment, facilities, grant support and faculty members who have been “good role models and mentors for these students.”

Sims said of the awards, “We’re very proud of the accomplishments of the graduates of our soil science program. It’s rewarding to see so many of our former graduate students become very successful faculty at top-ranked universities and to have their successes recognized by these prestigious awards. Their research and extension programs are cutting-edge and address some of the most important areas we face today as we to ensure a safe and secure food supply for more than 7 billion people worldwide and protect our environment for future generations.”

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily > >

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Nominations for 2012 Worrilow Award

September 21, 2011 under CANR News

Given in honor of the dean of the college from 1954 to 1965, the George M. Worrilow award recognizes a CANR alumnus who has made significant contributions professionally in an agriculture related field. Past honorees include producers, educators, and industry leaders. Three finalists are nominated for the award by a committee consisting of past award winners, and the Ag Alumni Board of Directors chooses one recipient annually.

Nominations are requested at this time. Please complete this nomination form (WorrilowAwardNominationForm) and provide a current resume or CV of the nominee to Maria Pautler at mpautler@udel.edu or UD/PLSC, 152 Townsend Hall, Newark, DE 19716-2170 by Wednesday, October 5, 2011. Please feel free to email Maria with any questions.

The award will be presented at the Friends of Ag Breakfast in January 2012.

A list of past Worrilow Award recipients is available on the Ag Alumni website.

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Call of the Blue Hen

September 15, 2011 under CANR News

Channel 6 Action News anchor and UD alum, Matt O’Donnell, visited the CANR farm this week to visit our blue hens for a segment about the new “Call of the Blue Hen” that will be played at home football games after the Fightin’ Blue Hens score a touchdown.

Watch the segment online by clicking here.

Many thanks to animal and food sciences instructor, Bob Alphin, for his work on the segment.

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Help create UDairy Creamery’s signature flavor

September 12, 2011 under CANR News

The UDairy Creamery has announced its “Blue Hen Flavor Contest,” a University-wide competition to create a signature ice cream flavor for the University of Delaware.  Students, faculty, staff and alumni are encouraged to participate.

The rules are simple — come up with a flavor that you think should be UD’s signature flavor and tell UDairy Creamery what it is and why it deserves to win. Participants are encouraged to be creative and to think outside the box.

There are several ways to enter. If you pre-ordered textbooks from the UD Barnes and Noble Bookstore, you already have a form in your bookstore packet, along with a coupon for $1 off of any ice cream purchase at the UDairy Creamery store, located on south campus next to the ice arenas.  Just drop off the entry form at the creamery.

Blank entry forms are also available at the creamery, and entries are being accepted online through this link.

Creamery staff will choose eight finalists, and then create all eight of the chosen flavors. In the first week, taste tests of the chosen eight entries will occur at various locations across the campus. You may only vote one time per taste testing round.

Students who participate will be asked to vote for their favorite flavor and after tallying the results, the competition will be narrowed down to four finalists. The next week, more taste tests and voting will lead to two finalists.

From there, the ultimate taste test and voting will determine the winning flavor, which will be announced at the Homecoming football game on Nov. 12.

The UDairy Creamery will award prizes to the creator of the winning flavor and to one randomly chosen person who votes during the competition.  Winners will be contacted via email.

Check the UDairy Creamery’s Facebook page and website frequently for announcements about the times and locations of the taste tests, and then show up and be ready for great ice cream innovations.

Important dates

Sept. 21 – Entries close

Oct 3 – Eight finalists are announced

Oct. 6 – First round of taste tests (8 choices)

Oct. 13 – Second round of taste tests (4 choices)

Oct. 20 – Third and final round of taste tests (2 choices)

Nov. 12 (Homecoming) – Winner is announced. The winning flavor will be available for purchase at the football game.

The UDairy Creamery, established in 2008, produces premium ice cream made with the milk from the cows on the farm at the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Founded on science, sustainability and entrepreneurship, the Creamery encourages discovery learning, with University students involved in every aspect of making and selling ice cream “from the cow to the cone.”

Posted on UDaily here.

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Fresh milk

July 20, 2011 under CANR News

For the first time, milk produced by the dairy herd on the University of Delaware campus is being distributed on campus.

The distribution comes thanks to a partnership between the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and Hy-Point Dairy of Wilmington, Del., which is the sole distributor of UD-produced milk.

Since June, all of the milk produced by the University’s 100-head dairy herd has been sent to Hy-Point and, for the first time, the milk produced on campus has been distributed back to the University community.

Hy-Point Dairy is owned by Jay Meany, a 1981 graduate of CANR, and has long been an established partner in UD’s dairy initiatives.  The Meany family includes several UD alumni, including not only Jay Meany but also Jessica Meany, a 2007 CANR graduate, and Dan Meany, a 2009 CANR graduate.

“We all take pride in our connection with UD, both as alumni and business partners,” said Dan Meany, who was also a member of the original business plan team for the UDairy Creamery in 2008. “Hy-Point continues to be dedicated to the development, establishment and overall progress of dairy initiatives at the University.”

From assisting with the initial business plan to providing countless hours of support and advice on planning and implementation efforts, the Meany family and others at Hy-Point have been instrumental in the overall success of the UDairy Creamery.

The milk distributed by Hy-Point will be sold in all of the on-campus markets and provided in the dining halls. And it will continue to be used for UDairy ice cream.

“We are fully-committed to local purchasing when possible and this new agreement with UD and Hy-Point will bring important sustainable efforts full-circle,” said Robin Moore, director of operations for dining services.

The UD dairy, located on the 350-acre CANR complex in Newark, not only provides milk for the University but also serves as a living laboratory for undergraduate and graduate students.

“Our college is very happy to enter into this partnership with Hy-Point, a local business that has been extremely supportive to us, especially in our efforts to start the UDairy Creamery,” said Tom Sims, deputy dean of CANR and the T.A. Baker Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry. “Our new cooperation with Hy-Point will allow students, faculty and staff at UD to enjoy locally-produced milk from our dairy every day. This is consistent with our college’s efforts to not only teach but demonstrate the principles of agricultural sustainability to our students.”

Read the full article on UDaily by clicking here.

To learn more about CANR’s dairy research program, visit the website.

Learn more about the UDairy Creamery at this website.

Article by Rachael Dubinsky

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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Ted Haas AG ’71 returns to campus for PT study

July 11, 2011 under CANR News

Forty years after graduating from the University of Delaware, Ted Haas found himself commuting to campus twice a week from Lewes, Del. But this time around, Haas wasn’t a student—he was a research subject.

A lacrosse player at UD from 1968 to 1971, Haas maintained an active lifestyle as an adult, jogging, cycling, and playing racquetball and softball. But by the time he reached his late fifties, his competitiveness caught up with him, and he began to experience pain and stiffness in his lower back when he got out of bed in the morning.

In April 2011, an ad in the Wilmington News Journal caught Haas’s attention. The UD Department of Physical Therapy was recruiting subjects for a study to determine whether a combination of low back stabilization exercises and electrical stimulation is a more effective treatment than back stabilization exercises alone for older adults with low back pain.

Haas met the criteria for the study and enrolled. “It was an 85-mile trip each way,” he says, “but I figured it was worth it if it would help me with a good PT program.”

Haas didn’t miss a single appointment, and he faithfully did all of the between-sessions homework assigned by therapist Meg Sions, a Ph.D. student working on the research under the advisement of Assistant Prof. Gregory Hicks.

The hard work paid off for this former athlete, with his post-treatment evaluation showing significant improvement in all measures.

“Ted demonstrated significant improvement per his objective testing in his low back pain, everyday function that was previously limited by his low back pain, physical mobility, balance, and back muscle endurance,” Sions says.

For Haas, participation in the research project not only addressed his physical problems but also served as a learning experience. “Meg taught me that it’s all about the core,” he says. “Strengthening the core helps to lower strain.”

“I’m not surprised that the treatment was so successful,” he adds. “I knew that the researchers and clinicians at the University would bring the most innovative approach to my back problems. In six weeks, Meg improved my quality of life, and I look for further advances in the next six weeks as I continue the program at home. My goal is to be back on the racquetball courts with my friends here in the Rehoboth-Lewes area three months from now.”

About the research

The study in which Haas participated is led by Gregory Hicks, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. Hicks’s research focuses on chronic lower back pain in older adults. Meg Sions is a Ph.D. candidate in UD’s interdisciplinary Biomechanics and Movement Science (BIOMS) graduate program. Her doctoral research is aimed at determining the impact of chronic low back pain on physical and psychosocial function in older adults.

About Ted Haas

Ted Haas earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1971. He spent his entire career working for the University of Maryland extension service as an agronomy specialist for the Eastern Shore. After retiring from the Maryland faculty several years ago, Haas served as a park ranger at Cape Henlopen State Park and as a dockmaster for the city of Lewes.

The University of Delaware has been a family affair for Haas. Related alumni include his wife, Patricia Lynch Haas (1970); his daughters, Kristen Haas Perez (1996) and Gretchen Haas Wyshock (1999); his sister, Carla Haas Spadaro (1966); his brother-in-law, Gregory Lynch (1976); and his mother-in-law, Jane Kenney Lynch (1940).

Article by Diane Kukich

Photos by Evan Krape

This article originally appeared in UDaily and is reposted here courtesy of the College of Health Sciences.

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CANR alumni honored on UD Wall of Fame

June 20, 2011 under CANR News, Events

At the Alumni Wall of Fame induction ceremony are (seated, from left) Patricia Orris Robertson, Rita Mariani Landgraf, Nancy Karibjanian and Suzanne McMahon Sears; and (standing, from left) Alumni Association President Alan Brayman, Edgar N. Johnson Jr., Theresa Catherine Adams Masek, who spoke on behalf of her late father Leon W. Adams Sr., Douglas Blonsky and UD President Patrick T. Harker. Not present were John E. Eckerson, James H. Miller and John W. Morgan III.

Two CANR alumni were among ten University of Delaware alumni who were honored for their exceptional achievements by being inducted into the Alumni Wall of Fame in a ceremony on June 4, 2011 as part of Alumni Weekend festivities. Leon W. Adams Sr. earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1941. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he returned to Delaware, eventually opening an insurance agency in Newark. In 1986, he earned the industry’s highest honor, “Agent of the Year” by the Travelers Insurance. He was a lifelong supporter of the University and Blue Hen football. Mr. Adams died in 2009. Douglas Blonsky earned his bachelor’s degree in plant science from UD in 1981. Since 2004, he has served as president of New York City’s Central Park Conservancy, with official oversight of the park’s day-to-day operations and maintenance, including $350 million in capital projects. Under his leadership, a number of noteworthy restoration projects have been completed at the park. He serves as host to UD students and faculty visiting Central Park and has returned to campus several times to meet with students.

Learn more about the honorees by reading the full UDaily article posted online.

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