10 to be honored with Purdue Agriculture's top award

March 2, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ten Purdue University College of Agriculture alumni will receive the college's highest honor, the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, at a ceremony Friday (March 2) on campus.

The award will be presented during a 3:30 p.m. EST convocation in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom.

The award has been presented each year since 1992 to honor mid-career Purdue Agriculture graduates who have made significant contributions to their profession or society in general and have a record of outstanding accomplishments.

"These 10 people represent who we are and what we do so well," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. "They are businesspeople, farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs, working in both the public and private sectors - and they are all leaders. We take great pride in our alumni, and these are 10 of our best."

The 2012 recipients are (all academic degrees from Purdue):

Larry E. Becker

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* Larry E. Becker, BS '88, president and chief executive of the landscape management company Becker Landscape Contractors Inc. of Indianapolis. Becker and his staff are regular participants in Purdue Agriculture's landscape contracting and management course, affording students the opportunity to be current with industry trends, opportunities, challenges, technologies and equipment.

Kevin J. Cavanaugh

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* Kevin J. Cavanaugh, MS '90 and PhD '93, of Atlanta, Ind., director of research at Beck's Hybrids Inc. He was president of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders 2003-04 and president of the Indiana Seed Trade Association 2002-03. As a member of the Beck's leadership team, Cavanaugh helped the Indiana-based company become the largest independent, family-owned retail seed company in the U.S.

Malcolm DeKryger

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* Malcolm DeKryger, MS '83, vice president and co-owner of Belstra Milling Co. in DeMotte, Ind. When DeKryger joined the company in 1991 as head of business development and sales, the pig production business consisted of 600 sows and the mill produced 36,000 tons of mixed feed per year. Under his leadership, the pork business has steadily grown to 11,500 sows with an annual production in excess of 310,000 breeding and market animals. The milling operation now produces more than 120,000 tons of mixed feed per year for pigs and dairy cows.

F. Howard Halderman

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* F. Howard Halderman, BS '88, of Wabash, Ind., president and chief executive of Halderman Farm Management Service Inc. His third-generation, Indiana-based farm-management and real-estate organization provides management services to more than 650 farms with a market value in excess of $1 billion in the United States, Canada and South America. At Purdue, Halderman received the G.A. Ross Award as the top male graduate of 1988.

Nancy E. Lange

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* Nancy E. Lange, BS '81, of Indianapolis, senior director of human resources, global recruiting and staffing for Eli Lilly and Co. Lange started her career in 1981 as a sales representative for Elanco Agricultural Chemicals, a division of Eli Lilly. She earned the Chairman's Ovation Award from Eli Lilly in 2000 and was promoted to her current position in 2010. As an undergraduate student, Lange worked as a research assistant for former College of Agriculture Dean Vic Lechtenberg.

Kenda M. Resler Friend

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* Kenda M. Resler Friend, MS '91, of Indianapolis, a communications leader for the Enlist Weed Control System at Dow AgroSciences, a global company with more than 7,000 employees and annual sales of $5.6 billion. She previously led corporate and executive communication for the Indianapolis-based company. Before joining Dow more than a decade ago, she worked on the communications agency side of the agriculture industry, including serving as a vice president at a leading agricultural communications agency. Resler Friend was the 2007 winner of Indiana's Women in Agriculture Leadership Award and the 2000 winner of Purdue's Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Del Unger

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* Del Unger, BS '84, of Carlisle, Ind., and his wife, Tammi, BS '84, are owners of Del Unger Farms, consisting of 5,000 acres in southwestern Indiana. He was chosen as Sullivan County's Outstanding Young Farmer in 1985, the same year Unger Farms hosted 60 Brazilian farmers. He also has hosted the Indiana Farm Management Tour in 1996 and 2011. Unger judges beef competitions in Indiana and Illinois and serves as the Sullivan County 4-H Beef Project superintendent.

Gary M. Weber

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* Gary M. Weber, BS '77 and MS '79, of Severn, Md., has been president of Bioniche Food Safety-USA, a division of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc., since 2008. Weber has provided leadership for Bioniche's efforts to license and commercialize a vaccine to reduce the shedding of E. coli for cattle in the United States by working directly with cattle producers and beef processors, Congress, regulatory agencies and the media. Weber has participated in agricultural tours of Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Syria, Uruguay and the United Kingdom.

Jeremy Xu

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* Jeremy Xu, PhD '99, MBA '01, of Shanghai, China, is business director in the Asia Pacific region of DuPont Protection Technologies. Xu and his team of 320 professionals are responsible for business strategies for products such as Kevlar, Nomex and Tyvek in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and 15 other countries. At Purdue, Xu earned his MBA with emphasis in finance and operations from the Krannert Graduate School of Management.

Liangli (Lucy) Yu

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* Liangli (Lucy) Yu, PhD '99, of College Park, Md., professor and acting chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland since 2009. Yu has published three books, 109 research articles and 13 book chapters, and holds one U.S. and one European patent. A fellow in the American Chemical Society-Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division, Yu has received the Young Scientist Award from that organization as well as from the American Oil Chemists' Society.
Writer: Tom Campbell, 765-494-8084, tsc@purdue.edu

Source: Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391, akridge@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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