Tarleton’s College of Agriculture recognizes alumni achievements

Tarleton's College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences recognized former students and friends of the college at its annual Honors Alumni banquet. Among those receiving awards are (l-r) Dr. Gary Moore, Donald Beard, the Hon. Mike Moncrief, Jeff Goodwin, Clay Ewell and Jeff True.

STEPHENVILLE (May 3, 2019) — Tarleton State University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences honored several alumni and friends of the college at its second annual honors banquet April 27.

Dr. Steve Damron, dean of the college, presented the awards.

Rising Star Award – Dr. Shelby Armstrong, ’12
The Rising Star goes to an individual who exemplifies excellence in research and education. After graduating from Tarleton in fall 2012, Dr. Shelby Armstrong moved to Corvallis, Ore., to work at the Corvallis Research Center of the Phibro Animal Health Corp. as a research scientist focusing on improving animal health through better nutrition. While maintaining her job, she earned her Ph.D. in animal sciences with a nutrition emphasis in 2016 from Oregon State University.

Trailblazer Award – Donald Beard, ’06
The Trailblazer recognizes a Tarleton-connected individual who makes a sustained difference in his or her profession or the lives of others. Shortly after graduating from Tarleton with a wildlife science degree, Donald Beard began working for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; in 2009 he took over management of Caprock Canyons State Park, where he oversees the Texas State Bison Herd. Bison restoration and management is now the park’s top priority. Beard also serves as vice president of the Texas Bison Association and chairman of the conversation committee for the National Bison Association. He also is a member of the Bison Specialist Group for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Alumni Achievement Award,
Department of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Technology – Jeff True, ’86
Jeff True is a Plano native who graduated with a degree from Tarleton’s horse production and management program. He spent his early career active in business and trade associations. He worked six years at Los Alamitos Race Course in California before joining the start-up company Youbet.com. He spent four years as president of United Tote after it was acquired by Youbet.com before joining AmTote International, where he served as vice president of sales for domestic and global markets. Today, he’s president and general manager of All American Ruidoso Downs Racing, LLC, which operates Ruidoso Downs racetrack and the Billy the Kid Casino in Ruidoso, N.M.

Alumni Achievement Award,
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences – Laurah Williams, ’93 ’98
Laurah Williamsgraduated from Tarleton with a bachelor’s in agricultural education in 1993 and her master’s in 1998. After graduation, she began a storied career at Chico High School and later joined the faculty at Stephenville High School, where she has built one of the strongest agricultural education programs and FFA chapters in Texas. She has trained more than 125 teams that advanced to state and has mentored numerous state champion teams, six national championship teams and six Texas FFA state officers. She currently serves as head of the agriculture science program at Eastland High School.

Alumni Achievement Award,
Department of Wildlife, Sustainability and Ecosystem Sciences – Jeff Goodwin, ’99 ’01
Jeff Goodwin received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton. While a student, he helped charter the Tarleton Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society. After graduating in 2001, he began his career as a range management specialist with brief stints at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, the Smith/Walker Experimental Ranch and the USDA Natural Resource Conversation Service, and he served as the NRCS rangeland management specialist throughout the state. He also has been the state grazing lands specialist for the NRCS Ecological Sciences staff and the state’s rangeland management specialist. Currently, he serves as the conservation stewardship leader and pasture and range consultant in the Noble Research Institute. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in wildlife science with an emphasis in rangeland ecology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Service Awards – Calvin Hudson, Clay Ewell and Eduardo Gonzalez
COAES Service Awards recognize an individual, family or business with a record of commitment to changing the lives of others through service contributions to the college.

• Calvin Hudson graduated from Tarleton with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education, then taught agriculture at Stephenville High school for 25 years before retiring. He owns and operates Box H Gamebirds, where he manages the production of more than 44,000 pheasant and quail. He allows the college and others to use the facilities at Box H Gamebirds for various activities. He also has provided hunter safety instructor training to hundreds of Tarleton undergraduates.

• As a middle school student, Clay Ewell recognized the need for a more efficient way to score FFA judging contests, so developed a program to do just that. Over the years, he has refined the program, now called judgingcard.com, and taken it nationwide. He also developed an online registration system, electronic teacher directories and the AET record keeping system used by FFA members across the country.

• Eduardo Gonzalez holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tarleton, where he was a member of the meat judging team, served as an Alumni Ambassador and was in the Student Government Association. He began his career as a product specialist for Labatt Food Service and later advanced to area sales manager with Holten Meat. He currently is a regional sales manager with Branding Iron Holdings and president of the TSU Meats Judging Team Alumni Association.

Dean’s Award – Dr. Gary Moore, ’69
Dr. Gary Moore is a nationally renowned professor emeritus of agricultural and extension education at North Carolina State University. He graduated from Tarleton with a bachelor’s in agricultural education in 1969. After teaching high school in Kansas and Ohio, he earned a master’s and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. His distinguished career as an agricultural education professor included stints at Alabama A&M, Purdue, Louisiana State and North Carolina State, where he remained until retirement in 2017. His extensive research efforts have garnered him 148 journal publications, five monographs, three books, three book chapters and more than 300 scholarly presentations at professional conferences.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Mike Moncrief, ’68
Mike Moncrief has dedicated his life’s work to public service. A former Tarleton student body president, he was elected to the Texas House in 1971; as a representative, he worked on multiple committees, including the crucial appropriations. His peers voted him Legislator of the Year in 1972. Moncrief was elected Tarrant County judge in 1974 and served in that position for 12 years. In 1991 he was elected to the Texas Senate where he would be recognized nationally for authoring the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In 2001 he was appointed president pro-tempore of the Texas Senate. Moncrief was elected mayor of Fort Worth in 2003 and served eight years.

Outstanding Philanthropist Award,
Tarleton Agricultural Education Alumni Association
The Tarleton Agricultural Education Alumni Association was founded by former agricultural education majors who wanted to support student teachers. Since its inception in the early 2000s, the association has given every student teacher who goes through the agricultural education program a scholarship. A live auction, conducted annually at the Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association of Texas conference, has raised more than $250,000 for this purpose.

Outstanding Philanthropist Award,
TSU Meats Team Alumni Association
The TSU Meats Team Alumni Association created an endowment in 1991, and each year funds are added through individual member giving and through an auction that raises nearly $30,000. More than 300 students have benefited in the form of scholarships or travel support. The endowment also supports the Animal Science and Veterinary Technology Department (by helping students attend professional meetings such as the Reciprocal Meats Conference and the Southwest Meats Association annual meeting) and the research of faculty and staff.

For more information about Tarleton’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, visit www.tarleton.edu/coaes.

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