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February 5, 2007

Purdue Ag Alumni recognizes five for distinctive accomplishments

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Five agricultural leaders were awarded the Purdue University Agricultural Alumni Association's Certificate of Distinction during the annual Fish Fry in Indianapolis on Saturday (Feb. 3).

The certificate honors those who have positively affected agriculture through professional accomplishments, involvement in agricultural activities, community work and other service activities.

It is the highest honor bestowed by Purdue's Ag Alumni Association, according to Donya Lester, the association's executive secretary.

The 2007 recipients are:

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W. David Downey, West Lafayette. A professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Purdue, Downey is a charter member of Purdue's Book of Great Teachers, Downey has taught over 10,000 agri-marketing and sales students in his 40-year teaching career. He co-founded the Center for Agricultural Business (later renamed the Center for Food and Agricultural Business) in 1986. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1961, a master's degree in 1963 and a doctorate in 1967, all from the Purdue College of Agriculture.

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John N. Ferris, East Lansing, Mich. A professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Michigan State University, Ferris is a five-time recipient of the Premier Forecaster Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association. In 2005, Ferris joined a group of farmers to build the first major biodiesel plant in Michigan. He earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Purdue in 1951.

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William Philip Gordon, Syracuse. A retired Purdue Extension educator, Gordon's land-use efforts resulted in one of Indiana's first agricultural zoning ordinances protecting large farms from nuisance complaints. He served on the state's land-use team, offering guidance to other communities in developing land-use plans. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Purdue in 1965.

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Danita Rodibaugh, Rensselaer. The office manager of a 1,400-acre, 400-sow family farming operation, Rodibaugh is responsible for all financial and herd records for the family farm. Rodibaugh is past president of the National Pork Board and a member of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture advisory board. She earned a bachelor's degree in consumer and family sciences from Purdue in 1975.

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Charles L. "Shorty" Whittington, Elizabethtown. He is the owner of Grammer Industries Inc., in Grammer, and Vickery Transportation Inc., in Vickery, Ohio, a pair of transportation companies. Whittington is also the owner of Integrity BioFuels, the first continuous-flow soy biodiesel processing plant in Indiana, located in Morristown. He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Purdue in 1968.

Writer: Tom Campbell, (765) 494-8084

Source: Donya Lester, (765) 494-8593

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

Related Web sites:
Purdue Agriculture:

Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association:

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