—Gala in the Garden—
—Scovell & Erikson Society—
—HES Hall of Fame—
Lifetime Achievement Award
Diamond ($9,000 +)
Oran Little, dean of the College from 1988 to 2000 who was also a renowned researcher and teacher in animal nutrition during his career, has now been inducted into the College’s Animal and Food Sciences Hall of Fame.
Little, as an animal sciences faculty member at UK in the 1960s, developed a groundbreaking research technique that led to a much-improved understanding of how cattle digest different feed components. That work expanded the field of animal nutrition and opened the door to a wide range of new approaches in research as well as feed processing.
As an animal sciences faculty member, he authored or co-authored 69 research articles in refereed national publications and 121 publications for the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.
In 1969, he became the College’s associate dean for research, directing programs in 24 research areas. During his 16-year tenure in that position, research faculty increased by 21 percent, appropriated funds increased from $4.9 million to $14 million annually, and outside funding increased from less than $1 million to more than $8.5 million annually. The number of graduate students in the College more than doubled.
Under his leadership as dean, College achievements included an initiative with growers and other groups to increase commodity profits, updating of the curriculum to better prepare students for the global marketplace, strengthening of research in molecular genetics, increased research in agriculture and the environment, and securing of funding for the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center and the first phase of the Animal Research Center in Woodford County.
Michelle Knapke McDonald ’84, ’92, president of the AG and HES Alumni Association for 2009-2010, has fond memories of her undergraduate years.
“I could have been a permanent student,” she said.
But McDonald did graduate and for 12 years taught home economics in Pendleton County, earning a master’s degree from UK in vocational education along the way.
About 10 years ago, she moved back to her native Nicholas County. She is property valuation administrator there, and her husband Phillip is a businessman and part-time farmer.
Through it all, McDonald’s alumni ties have remained strong. She joined the UK Alumni Association soon after graduation in 1984, which isn’t surprising for someone with four out of five siblings who are also UK grads.
Several years later, she became active in the Northern Kentucky chapter of the HES Alumni Association and then the state HES Alumni Association, holding leadership roles in both.
McDonald was in line for president of the state HES Alumni Association when talks began about merging HES with the College of Agriculture.
“Once we realized the merger was going to happen, Ag was our first choice,” McDonald said. “Ag is where HES came from. It seemed logical, the best fit.” (HES and Ag were linked for a few years beginning 1908 and again from 1917 to 1969. The merger took place in 2003.)
McDonald said the merger has been successful “because so many people were committed to doing it right.”
She served as both treasurer and vice president of the combined association before being elected president earlier this year at Winter Event.
This former 4-H’er and state officer in Future Homemakers of America wants to build alumni membership. She points to kid-friendly events at Roundup and area meetings as part of what the association is doing to draw in younger alums.
McDonald is a strong believer in what alumni association membership can do. “You are able to maintain contact with schoolmates, and recontact others,” she said. “Membership also is a way of keeping up with what’s going on,” she said.
“It’s important to know what a vital college this is,” McDonald said. “The College educates farmers, but it also offers economics, equine education—so many different things that don’t take place on a farm.”
2009 Board of Directors
Ag Student-at-Large Representative—
HES Student-at-Large Representative—
Alumni and friends gave $136,635 during 2007-2008 to support scholarships and student activities and other programs. In January, Bill McCloskey (left), who was treasurer at that time, presented a “check” for that amount at 2009’s Winter Event to the College’s administrative team. Pictured with McCloskey, from left to right, are Ann Vail, director of the School of Human Environmental Sciences and extension assistant director for Family and Consumer Sciences; Scott Smith, dean of the College of Agriculture; Mike Mullen, associate dean for academic programs, Jimmy Henning, associate dean for extension and director of the Cooperative Extension Service, and Nancy Cox, associate dean for research and director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.
Executive officers of the alumni association for 2009-2010 are, from
AG & HES Alumni Association Executive Board