By Haley Schmersal
Each semester, The Ohio State University hosts commencement to bestow degrees upon graduating students. Earning a degree is a remarkable achievement for all students, but for Doris Huffman this experience will be extra special.
At the 2021 winter commencement, Huffman will receive her master of education in agriscience education, a moment that she has been working toward for years.
In the early 1980s, Huffman earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State with encouragement from her neighbor. She already had a strong interest in education and had graduated as valedictorian of her high school class.
“The neighbor boy talked to me and said, ‘You ought to go down there and take a couple classes, you’d like it,’ ” Huffman said. “So, I enrolled, got in the pickup truck, and off we went at 7:00 in the morning.”
Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree, Huffman was interested in higher level courses and decided to enroll in graduate classes. At the time, there were few women in agriculture and Huffman was one of the only women in her area of study. Despite beginning her studies, the vocational agriculture program was undergoing changes, and Huffman did not receive her degree.
Fortunately, since Huffman has been so involved with Ohio State University Extension following her time as a student, her academic standing was recently re-evaluated by the university. After completing one final requirement, Huffman met the qualifications to receive her degree.
“I was shocked,” said Huffman. “I want to hang it on my bedroom wall and feel satisfied.”
This accomplishment is important to Huffman because she is finally able to represent all the hard work she put into her education by receiving her degree.
Huffman has always had a passion for learning and education, especially in agriculture. This passion not only influenced her academic career, but also led her to a lifetime involvement in 4-H.
For most of her life, Huffman has been involved in agriculture. As a child, her family owned a farm, and Huffman joined her local 4-H club because it was a free opportunity and seemed like fun. This choice sent her on a journey that would last her a lifetime.
Once Huffman was no longer eligible to be a 4-H member, she served as a 4-H advisor. In this position, she taught 4-H members how to cook and sew out of her own home. Huffman is also an annual donor to Ohio 4-H and has even aided in the creation of multiple 4-H clubs across Delaware County.
“I’m very, very serious about skill development in young children,” said Huffman. “That’s my cause.”
Many of Huffman’s children and grandchildren have followed similarly in her footsteps. Several of them were or are current members of 4-H, and many have also attended Ohio State for their own college education. When Huffman’s children were younger, they also attended vocational schools.
“My devotion is to vocational education,” Huffman said. “All three of my children went to vocational school before they went to college.”
With such dedication and commitment to educating hundreds of children through 4-H, ensuring her children had the opportunity for a meaningful education, and working toward breaking the stereotype of women in agriculture, Huffman is more than deserving of this opportunity.
Congratulations on your degree, Doris!