2007 NIFA Hall of Fame
Dr. Ronald Brown is executive director of the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors. He works with Cooperative Extension Service directors in 13 Southern States to promote efficiency and effectiveness by expanding multistate extension programs through electronic technology and the sharing of resources. From 1996 to 2001, Brown served as director of the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service. From 1989 to 1996, he was associate vice president of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine at MSU. He also served as director of the Office of International Programs and held the rank of professor in the MSU Department of Agricultural Education and Experimental Statistics. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural education from MSU and a doctorate from the University of Illinois. He has written or co-authored more than 50 articles, papers, and manuscripts. Brown developed a firsthand knowledge of agriculture during the many years he lived on a diversified livestock, row crop, and vegetable farm. He also was active in 4-H during his time as a high school teacher, helping teach young people and adults the importance of agriculture. Brown was a driving force and supporter for eXtension and without his tireless efforts to promote the idea, eXtension as we know it would not exist. Through his initiative, persistence, and commitment to cooperation across universities and within NIFA, Cooperative Extension has redefined itself for the 21st century as an innovative, collaborative system working together to assure new, useful, and sound information for citizens' access.
Over a 35 year career in public service, Louise Ebaugh held numerous positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her last position was as the deputy administrator for the Office of Extramural Programs (OEP) in NIFA. In that role she was responsible for directing 70 employees engaged in work associated with awarding and administering more than $1 billion in congressional appropriations for NIFA grants, cooperative agreements, and formula funds. She worked with the NIFA financial assistance programs for 22 years, during which she aligned financial assistance programs in research, education, and extension, and created a management structure through which all employees could find opportunities for advancement. She was trusted and viewed as a leader who listened to both stakeholders and customers and found ways to accommodate their needs as reflected in her outstanding leadership of the first-ever NIFA customer service satisfaction survey. She was highly regarded by other federal agencies who worked collaboratively with USDA to accomplish mutual goals. In 2004, Ebaugh volunteered to lead agency staff in piloting the proposed Grants.gov system for accepting electronic proposals. Her efforts illuminated the need for further work on the part of Grants.gov and ultimately helped shape this national program. Her national contribution and willingness to break new ground are typical of her career. Ebaugh's achievements resulted in numerous prestigious awards that enhanced both her professional and the agency's stature. Most notable among such awards were a Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service, the USDA Secretary's Honor Award for Equal Opportunity and Reinventing Government, and USDA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer's Excellence in Financial Management Award.
Eddie Gouge is the associate director of Federal Relations for Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). He joined NASULGC on September 1, 1989. Prior to joining NASULGC, he served as the assistant director for Legislative Education and Assistant for Public Affairs at the Navy League of the United States. He also has held several positions on Capitol Hill between 1977 and 1985. Gouge grew up in a military family spending time in various parts of the world and the United States, but he and his family call Spruce Pine, NC, home. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed an independent study program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, after which he was selected to participate in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Intern Program in the U. S. House of Representatives. He helped NIFA work with critical stakeholders, whether it was making sure we were part of the Science on the Hill project or keeping us in the loop with CARET. While many of us like to think we are dealing with big picture issues, he understands and implements the operational details needed to make big ideas happen. Gouge is vital to the strength of the federal and state partnership underlying the Land-Grant University System.