ISU Agriculture And Life Sciences Alums Honored

Awards presented to outstanding alumni and a retired professor at annual ISU event.

Officials of Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented awards to alums and to an emeritus professor on Oct. 24--at the annual Iowa State University Alumni Association awards ceremony.

Roger Underwood, retired CEO of Becker Underwood, received the Floyd Andre Award, which recognizes alums who have made outstanding contributions to production agriculture, ag business or who have significantly influenced Iowa agriculture.

Underwood received his bachelor's degree in ag business from Iowa State in 1980. He then co-founded Becker Underwood in 1982. Today, Becker Underwood is a $130 million international specialty chemical company. He and his wife, Connie, also provided a $1.5 million gift to establish an entrepreneurship program for students in the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2005.

Distinguished Service Award Winners

Rich and Nancy Degner received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award. The award was established to honor Iowa State University alumni and friends for outstanding achievements in the agricultural, food, environmental, social and life sciences.

Rich graduated from Iowa State with a bachelor's and master's degree in agricultural education in 1972 and 1977. He joined the Iowa Pork Producers Association staff in 1980, serving in several roles before becoming executive director in 1998. Nancy graduated from Iowa State in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in food nutrition and food science. She has worked with consumer education programs for the beef industry since 1975 and became executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council in 2003.

ISU's John Pesek is also honored

Also receiving the George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award is John Pesek, emeritus professor of agronomy and Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences. He joined ISU as an assistant professor in 1950. He was named department head of agronomy in 1964 and served for 23 years. He served as interim dean of the college from 1987-1988.

Owen Newlin, who earned bachelor's and master's degree in agronomy in 1951 and 1953, received the Henry A. Wallace Award. The award honors alums that have made outstanding contributions to national or international ag through leadership, research, teaching or writing. Newlin is a retired Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. executive and former president of the Board of Regents of the State of Iowa, which oversees the state universities—Iowa State University, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa.

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