College to Honor Diverse Group of Notable Alumni, Advocates

CFAES Alumni Awards

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will honor 14 of its brightest stars and supporters at its annual Alumni Awards program March 7.

“This year’s honorees exemplify the excellence and talent we have come to expect from our graduates,” said Bruce McPheron, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.

The Meritorious Service Award, given to alumni and nonalumni who have had a significant impact on the college’s quest for excellence, will be given to the following:

  • Glenn Himes received his PhD in agricultural economics from Ohio State in 1964 and after graduation moved from assistant professor to full professor and now professor emeritus with the university. He coached the student National Marketing Team and directed the Leadership, Education and Development program.
  • Dale Leppo, Leppo Equipment, received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Kent State University. He serves on the advisory committee for the college’s two-year degree-granting unit, the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. His insights help ensure that students studying power equipment and hydraulics will graduate with marketable skills. His company offers paid internships to ATI students, and Leppo has hired many former ATI interns.

Seven alumni are being honored as Distinguished Alumni, an award that recognizes those who have brought distinction to themselves and the college through commitment and leadership. The honorees:

  • C. Dale Baughman earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education in 1961 and held numerous leadership roles in vocational education during his career.
  • Bryan Black received his Associate of Applied Science degree in swine production from ATI in 1980 and is a leader in Ohio’s pork and livestock industries.
  • U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs received an associate degree from ATI in 1974, worked at the college’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and co-founded Hidden Hollow Farms in Holmes County. He joined the Ohio House of Representatives in 2002 and the U.S. House in 2011, where he sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chairs the subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
  • Wayne Impullitti earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in nursery management from ATI in 1984 and now owns one of the state’s top landscaping companies, Impullitti Landscaping. His efforts to support Secrest Arboretum on the college’s Wooster campus have been especially helpful since a tornado struck there in 2010.
  • Dick Isler earned his Bachelor of Science degree in animal sciences in 1969. Four years later he began as executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council and since then has been a leader and advocate for Ohio’s pork and livestock industries.
  • Rob Rettig earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics in 1984 and then grew Rettig Farms from a 700-acre cash grain and 50-cow dairy operation to 3,500 acres. He formed New Vision Farms in 2010, managing 6,000 acres, and has played an active leadership role in Ohio’s crop organizations.
  • Kevin Wendt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in animal sciences in 1990 but has been a professional auctioneer since 1983. He founded the Wendt Group, a diversified auction company based in Marysville, which now operates multiple online auction sites that combined produced $17.5 billion in sales in 2014 for breeders in more than 43 states.

Ruperto Sangalang will receive the International Alumni Award. He earned his PhD in rural sociology from Ohio State in 1982. He served as president of Don Severino Agricultural College in the Philippines and later transitioned to Cavite State University in that country, where he continued as president.

Four alumni will receive the Young Professional Achievement Award:

  • Marie Colmerauer received her MS in food science and nutrition in 2007. Now an instructor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College, she also worked at Kraft and Sargento.
  • Renee Geyer, a 2009 ATI turfgrass management graduate, is assistant golf course manager at Akron’s Firestone Country Club and has earned numerous industry recognitions.
  • Joshua Jennings received an associate degree from ATI and a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State in animal sciences. Most recently he founded the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield.
  • Maria Yost received her Bachelor of Science in 2003 and her MS in 2005 in food science and nutrition. She is a technical project manager for Beam Suntory in Frankfort, Kentucky, within the company's largest bottling facility and also assists with pilot trials.

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CFAES News Team