During this year’s Fall Extension Conference, we presented the annual Michigan State University Extension and Key Partner Awards at the 2014 Extension Awards Banquet. We present these awards yearly to highlight some of the great contributions that you, your colleagues and your partners have produced to support MSU Extension and the state as a whole.
After we spent a whole day at Fall Extension Conference brainstorming how to reach our clients more effectively and improve our culture, it was particularly inspiring to reflect on some of the amazing work that you all have already done to collaborate with your colleagues and serve Michigan in new and exciting ways.
It was also very exciting to have Gordon Guyer, former MSU Extension director, at the dinner. He presented the Gordon Guyer Cross-Institute Team Award to the Michigan Fresh Team, keeping true to his legacy of encouraging collaboration to meet the needs of our constituents.
For additional information about the recipients of these awards, take a look at the 2014 Extension Awards Banquet Program. Please join me in congratulating them!
Brenda Reau, Michigan State University Extension educator and associate director of the MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio, shared that quote with me last Thursday, attributing it to Dr. Gordon Guyer, former director of MSU Extension (and president emeritus, MSU). The context was that on any given day, one of Dr. Guyer’s more famous comments was, “it’s a great day to be in Extension.” Well, I’d say his description captures the essence of this week for me.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Gov. Rick Snyder presented his budget recommendations for FY2015 to the Michigan Legislature. In it, he proposed to increase funding for higher education by an average of 6.1 percent, and he further specified that the funding for MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch should be increased by 6.1 percent. That represents a $3.4 million increase in funding for MSU Extension and AgBioResearch combined. Just one year ago, I was giddy about the governor proposing a 2 percent increase in our state appropriation, and eventually the legislature doubled that to 4 percent. Here we are one year later, starting with a 6.1 percent proposed increase, and if anything, that suggests to me that the work MSU Extension and AgBioResearch is doing in support of research and its application to agriculture, food safety and nutrition, community and natural resource development, and youth development is seen as being important and worthy of increased support. To me, this is a message that the work we have carried out to focus and improve our programs, to adopt technology as a tool to reach more people, and to be more accountable for what we do and what difference it makes is paying off. We’re heading in the right direction.
It’s fine to take a moment to relish this development, but this is no time to relax and rest on our laurels. Rather, this is a time when we need to continue improving our programs, following our work plans for the year and adapting technology to help us reach even more people in Michigan. It’s also a good time to share some good news with our stakeholders. And it’s a great time for our stakeholders to share their thoughts with decision makers about the programs they value and the impact our programs are having on their lives, their farms, their businesses, their communities and their families. County commissioners, state legislators and members of Congress all need to hear from their constituents about our programs. And the most effective messages they hear are ones that are not scripted, but rather are authentic and come from the experience of the constituents who are telling their stories.
The Michigan State University Museum will host a reception and official opening of an exhibition tracing the impacts and legacies of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring published 50 years ago this month. The event takes place Sept. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dr. Gordon Guyer, whom I featured in a Spotlight article, will be recognized at the reception for a lifetime of contributions to environmental and agricultural research and management.
Please RSVP by Sept. 24. To RSVP, request additional information or assistance for persons with disabilities, contact Brian Doyle at 517-884-1056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board of directors of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) has announced that they will be recognizing Dr. Gordon Guyer with the William Milliken Leadership for the Common Good Award. Dr. Guyer is well known to those of us in Michigan State University Extension. He served as director of MSUE from 1973 to 1985 and has provided leadership in many other ways: as department chairperson for the Department of Entomology, director of the MSU Pesticide Research Center, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the 18th President of MSU. Dr. Guyer has served on numerous boards of directors and remains a frequent source of advice and insight to leaders in agriculture, natural resources and higher education in Michigan and beyond. A lengthier and more detailed citation will be published later in association with the banquet at which Dr. Guyer will be recognized.
Today I wanted to call this to your attention and encourage you to consider attending the banquet at which Dr. Guyer will be recognized on Friday, September 17. The event begins with a reception at 6:00 p.m., and dinner follows at 7:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Lansing Center. In addition to Dr. Guyer’s recognition, the banquet will feature a keynote speech by Richard Longworth, author of Caught in the Middle, America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism. Mr. Longworth’s book is a sobering analysis of the importance of global economic changes on the Midwest’s dependence on agriculture and manufacturing for economic prosperity and how we can respond to those changes.
Tickets for the event are $125 (this is a fund-raiser for GLLA, so $100 is tax deductible) or $625 for a table of six ($425 tax deductible) and can be purchased online at www.GLLA.msu.edu/giving.html. This is a great way to support leadership development as part of MSUE’s work and to recognize an individual who has been critical to the development and success of MSUE. If you’re not able to attend the banquet but wish to send congratulations to Dr. Guyer, you can reach him at email@example.com.