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2004 NIFA Hall of Fame

Photo of the inductees, click here.

Jane Coulter

Coulter’s leadership helped to develop the Agriculture in the Classroom program, Higher Education Programs, and the Multicultural Alliances program which today form a key programmatic unit within NIFA. Coulter served as the Deputy Administrator of Science and Education Resources Development and ended her 22-year career as Deputy Administrator of Families, 4H, and Nutrition.   

Dan Dooley

Dooley served as a member and Vice Chair of the USDA, National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (NAREEEAB) for a number of years.  He also served as chairman and remains an active member of the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) Board. Prior to forming his law firm in 1993, Dooley served as member and chair of the California Water Commission and as Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Rodney Foil

After a long and distinguished career at Mississippi State University, Foil came to NIFA to help oversee the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS). He accomplished his mission and awarded more than $240 million in multidisciplinary, multi-institutional grants to address high-priority agricultural problems. In 1994, as chair of the Board on Agriculture, Foil worked with board members and advocacy groups to create a separate and strengthened NIFA as an agency, rather than a subdivision of the Agricultural Research Service.   

Vic Lechtenberg

Lechtenberg has been a leader in integrating the research and extension missions. Lechtenberg served as chair of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board for six years and was instrumental in crafting the legislation that authorized the IFAFS program as part of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998. As Purdue’s new Vice Provost for Engagement, Lechtenberg will continue to provide leadership to and support for NIFA.

Martin Massengale

Massengale currently serves as the chairman of USDA’s National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.  From the beginning of his long career as a teacher/research assistant to an administrator at the University of Arizona to Vice Chancellor of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Nebraska to Chancellor and President of the University of Nebraska System, he  has been an effective leader and supporter of the concept of integrating research, education, and extension.   

Madeline Mellinger

Mellinger has served as the Florida delegate to the Council for Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) of the Board on Agriculture at NASULGC since 1997. She also serves on several University of Florida advisory boards and has been a strong supporter of many of NIFA programs. She has been an advisor to the U.S. Congress, National Academy of Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal and state Extension Service, and various universities.

Rubie Mize

Mize played a vital role in the management and re-engineering of the National Information Management and Support System (NIMSS), which was originally developed for the Northeast Region State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors but has been transformed into a national system for the management of information related to the multistate research portfolio. Mize has served in this role since 1996, which also included initiating and managing partnerships with various federal agencies, regional state land grant universities, and the private sector.

Eldon Ortman

For three decades Ortman has worked unselfishly to promote the nation’s agricultural system. His efforts in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) have broad-ranging significance. Beyond his efforts for IPM he has provided leadership in roles including service as a USDA/ARS Center Director, a university department head, as Chair of the North Central Experiment Station Directors, as advisor to regional research committees, and as the president of his scientific society. In 2001, Ortman came to NIFA on an Interagency Personnel Agreement.

Leodrey Williams

Williams has made a career of helping deliver educational programs and service to citizens outside the mainstream of society.  During the reorganization of USDA and the merger of the Extension Service and the Cooperative State Research Service, Williams was appointed Associate Administrator of the newly formed NIFA.  He held this position until he returned to the state extension administrator’s role at Southern University in July 1995.   He currently serves as Chancellor at Southern University.   

Edward M. (Ted) Wilson

Wilson’s career in academic and public service spanning three decades exemplifies effective leadership in government.   Wilson's involvement with agricultural science and knowledge includes formal studies at McGill University in Canada and at The Ohio State University, where he has been named a "Distinguished Alumnus" by the OSU Agricultural Alumni Association. Wilson taught at Tuskegee University and served as Dean at Lincoln University before coming to Washington, DC. He retired as NIFA Deputy Administrator for Competitive Programs in January 2003.