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March 7, 2007

Purdue Agriculture honors distinguished alumni

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University College of Agriculture on Friday (March 2) honored eight Distinguished Agricultural Alumni during a campus ceremony.

"These eight people represent who we are and what we do so well in Purdue Agriculture," said Randy Woodson, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "These people are innovators and educators, leaders and motivators. We take great pride in our alumni and it's always a thrill to honor those who have distinguished themselves in their careers."

Honorees include:

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Robert E. Armstrong, Alexandria, Va. A decorated Vietnam veteran, Armstrong is a senior research fellow with the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University where he focuses on biological issues important to national security. He earned his Purdue doctoral degree in agronomy in 1985.


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Christie S. Chavis, St. Louis. Chavis is technology development and services lead for Monsanto Choice Genetics, focusing on producing livestock more efficiently and effectively. Chavis also is an active member of the Indiana Department of Agriculture's Grow America Project to foster public understanding of modern agriculture. She earned her bachelor's degree in animal sciences in 1992 and a master's degree in growth and molecular biology in 1994, both from Purdue.


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 F. Dominic Dottavio, Tiffin, Ohio. Dottavio is president of Heidelberg College, a liberal arts university, where he has been instrumental in its Center of Water Quality Research, which is internationally recognized as one of the largest tributary monitoring programs worldwide. He earned his doctorate in forestry and natural resources in 1979 at Purdue.


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 William J. Dull, Zionsville, Ind. Dull is partner and director of sales and governmental relations for Briar Tek Inc. Dull's company manufactures ORCA, a man overboard alarm system, and is currently working with the U.S. Navy to install the ORCA system on every U.S. Navy vessel. He earned his bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1986 in agronomy and animal sciences.


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Byron L. Ernest, Sheridan, Ind. Ernest is head of the agriculture science and business department for the Lebanon Community School Corp. He also is co-owner of Hopeful Farmers, where he breeds and races thoroughbreds and produces value-added hay for racehorses. He received his bachelor's degree in agricultural education and animals sciences in 1985 and master's degree in agricultural education in 1987, both from Purdue.


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Colleen Jonsson, Birmingham, Ala. Jonsson is a senior research scientist at the Southern Research Institute where she is program leader in emerging infectious disease research. Her team studies hantavirus, avian flu and other infectious diseases, looking at land use, climate, the environment and potential treatments. She earned a Purdue doctoral degree in biochemistry in 1990.


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John Madia, Carmel, Ind. Madia is vice president for human resources and site operations for the Dow Chemical Co. Madia received the Dow Chemical Genesis Award for Excellence in People Development in 1999. The honor recognizes employees who display excellence in developing people at all levels of the organization. He received a bachelor's degree in animal sciences from Purdue in 1978.


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Bruce A. Scherr, Memphis. Scherr is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Informa Economics Inc., an agricultural and commodity research, analysis and consulting firm. His company works with more than 750 food and agribusiness firms and organizations located around the world. He earned his master's in 1972 and doctoral degree in 1974 in agricultural economics, both from Purdue.


Writers: Tom Campbell, (765) 494-8084

Beth Forbes, (765) 494-2722,

Source: Randy Woodson, (765) 494-8391

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

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