sealPurdue News

April 19, 2002

Eight receive Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award, Purdue University's School of Agriculture's most prestigious honor, was presented to eight people today (Friday, 4/19), during a convocation.

The award, presented annually since 1992, honors mid-career graduates who have made significant contributions to their professions or to society.

"This year's Distinguished Agricultural Alumni recipients showcase the diverse paths our graduates take," said Victor Lechtenberg, dean of the School of Agriculture.

"All of our honorees started with a college degree in agriculture, but they have become lawyers and pediatricians, as well as scientists and professors. The various careers of these alumni demonstrate that the opportunities to those who enter the food, agriculture and natural resource system are limitless."

The most recent group brings the total number of distinguished agricultural alumni to 97. The 2002 honorees include:

  • Nels Ackerson, Washington, D.C., chairman and founder of The Ackerson Group, an international law firm based in Washington. Ackerson earned his bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1967.

  • William Aumutis, Minneapolis, team leader of protein research at Cargill Inc. Aumutis earned his bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1978.

  • P. Stephen Baenziger, Lincoln, Neb., the Eugene W. Price Distinguished Professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Baenziger earned his master's degree in agriculture in 1975.

  • Francis Patrick DeGennaro, Hockessin, Del., manager of DuPont Biosolutions Strategy and New Business Development, E.I. DuPont de Nemours Co., Wilmington, Del. DeGennaro earned his bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1981 and his master's degree in 1983.

  • Dr. Charles Dietzen, Zionsville, Ind., medical doctor at St. Vincent Children's Specialty Hospital and Riley Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis. Dr. Dietzen earned his bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1983.

  • Naim Mohammad Iraki, Jerusalem, Israel, associate professor and director of the Department of Biology, Bethlehem University. Dr. Iraki earned his doctorate degree in agriculture in 1987.

  • Ted A. McKinney, Indianapolis, global leader, public affairs-biotechnology, Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis. Earned his bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1981.

  • Bradley Sheares, Lansdale, Pa., vice president, hospital marketing and sales, U.S. human health, Merck & Co., North Wales, Pa. Dr. Sheares earned his doctorate in agriculture in 1982.

    Writer: Tom Campbell, (765) 494-8084,

    Sources: Victor Lechtenberg, (765) 494-8391

    Laurie Lambert Swift, events coordinator, (765) 494-3150,

    NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Publication-quality photographs of the award recipients are available at

    Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

    Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

    * To the Purdue News and Photos Page