2014 Alumni Society Award Recipients

Student Leadership Awards

Rylee AhnenRylee Ahnen, '14, B.S. Nutrition; English Literature

Rylee is an exceptional leader both within CFANS and across the University. He serves as CFANS Student Senator as well as the Chief of Staff of the Minnesota Student Association. In the Student Senate, he has brought forward the concerns of CFANS students and others who reside on the St. Paul campus. Within the CFANS Student Board, Rylee was able to contribute a resolution in support of increased safety measures in St. Paul. Additionally, upon hearing about the proposed merger between CFANS and CBS, Rylee acted proactively in discussing the issue with many members inside and outside of the CFANS community. He is dedicated to CFANS and devotes his time to engaging the St. Paul campus community of students with the rest of campus.


Salli DymondSalli Dymond, '15, Ph.D. Forest and Natural Resource Management

Salli founded the UMN Natural Resources Association of Graduate Students and served as its first president. She organized the first on-campus symposium by the Association, orchestrating over 100 talks and posters by students, and has served on several campus committees, including the recent University Committee on the prospective CFANS-CBS Merger, and the UMN Graduate and Research Policy Review Committee. During her time here she has held herself to a high standard of intellectual rigor and productivity, submitting six and receiving five grants to improve her research, and helping other students find and pursue grant opportunities. She is also involved in Odyssey of the Mind, an international academic program that provides creative problem solving opportunities for youth, and has dedicated much time and energy to the organization, including coaching and judging, and serving on the Minnesota board.

Outstanding Friend Award

Representative Rod Hamilton

Rod HamiltonAs a legislator, Representative Hamilton has always been willing to speak to students, providing them encouragement to be proactive citizens and share their message of agriculture. He graciously takes time from his busy schedule to be a guest lecturer for various classes on the St. Paul campus. Representative Hamilton's largest contribution to agricultural education has been his service to the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC), housed in the Ag Ed department. He became a member of the board in 2007, and has been the legislative "glue" on the Council. His valued support at the legislature for continued authorization and funding for MAELC is unwavering, and Representative continues to be an integral spokesperson for agricultural education and CFANS.

Distinguished Staff Award

Connie Hempstead, CFANS Development Office

Connie HemsteadAs Stewardship & Donor Relations Manager for CFANS Connie goes above and beyond what is listed in her position description. Her impressive 21 years of service and dedication to the University of Minnesota and CFANS have resulted in many important contributions and accomplishments over the years, and she is a role model to many throughout the college. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors are impressed by her high degree of organization and professionalism, and she is recognized by her collegiate peers as being an integral part of development activities with CFANS and the University of Minnesota.

Distinguished Faculty Award

Vance Morey, Professor Emeritus, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

Vance MoreyProfessor R. Vance Morey retired in December 2013 after 43 years of dedicated, outstanding service to the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and to the University of Minnesota. He was a teacher and mentor to graduate and undergraduate students, the head of the then Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, a long-time faculty advisor to the ASABE Student Chapter and the coordinator for the department's reaccreditation efforts. He served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and was a much sought after academic advisor.

Alumni Advocate Award

Kevin Dahlman, '78, B.S. Agricultural Education

Kevin DahlmanKevin Dahlman has been a longtime advocate of agricultural education, CFANS and the University of Minnesota, and is an outstanding alumnus that is a model of excellence for others to follow. He has given outstanding service to the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) since 2004 and continuing as a Governor's Appointee for another four years (until 2016). Through his appointed position, he communicates the importance of the land-grant mission of the university that is fulfilled through CFANS to legislators on the board as well as others in agriculture. He also advocates to the board for scholarships to support CFANS students and has served on numerous CFANS search committees. He whole-heartedly supports initiatives by the AgEd faculty and staff including the Teacher Induction Program and Change Lives-Teach Agriculture workshop by encouraging the board to continue funding these efforts. Kevin bleeds maroon and gold and promotes CFANS and the University of Minnesota to every student he meets. Between his thoughtfulness and being a person of action, his service has been phenomenal.

Alumni Service Award

Tom Appel, '79, B.S., '86, M.S. Agricultural Education

Tom AppelTom Appel has distinguished himself as a teacher and leader in his school, community, and professional organizations. He has been a positive influence in the lives of his students during his agricultural education teaching career of almost 31 years. Tom assists his students in making career choices and actively promotes the many options available for students to continue their education at the University of Minnesota, CFANS, and in the Agricultural Education major. Tom has served as a Cooperating Teacher and Early Field Experience site for Agricultural Education teacher candidates from the University of Minnesota. Further, Tom's role as Professional Development Coordinator for the MAAE has provided him with the opportunity to involve CFANS faculty in workshops for educators.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Pol Coppin, '91, Ph.D. Forestry

Pol Coppin  Pol is a Ph.D. graduate in Forestry, who became dean and professor of Bioscience Engineering at the Catholic University of Louvainone in Belgium, and is considered one of the lead remote sensing experts in the world. His list of publications and projects are impressive. His nominator, Brian Huberty, writes that one project that stands out, from years ago, was the mathematical modelling and graphic simulation of forests down to the leaf, a project light years ahead of George Lucas and Pixar. We look forward to presenting Pol Coppin's award to him at the Borealis Night of Excellence in 2015 and sharing even more about his influence in his field at that time.

Lifetime Achievement Award

David Hsi, '51, Ph.D. Plant Genetics

David HsiDavid Hsi graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951 with a doctorate in plant pathology and plant breeding. He excelled in his research on crop improvement, beginning with cotton, peanuts, sorghum and sweet potatoes with New Mexico State University. He was then, and continues to be, a respected sorghum scientist who released cultivars with high levels of resistance to charcoal rot. Following his retirement in 1992, he went on a mission to improve the lives of fellow citizens in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. During his exceptional career, Dr. Hsi was invited by the USAID to develop a comprehensive improvement plan for peanut culture in Western Pakistan. He also served as President of the New Mexico Academy of Science and later as President of the National Association of Academies of Sciences. Before retiring from New Mexico State University, Dr. Hsi was the first Asian American elected by the public to serve as a member of Albuquerque Board of Education. He co-chaired New Mexico Advocates for Children and Families, and was a founding member of the Board of Directors and Vice President of the Explora Science Center and Children Museum in Albuquerque, which was national recognized in 2010 with a National Museum and Library Service Award. Dr. Hsi is more than an exceptional crop scientist and leader in agricultural research; his educational, community and social development activities help define this extraordinary man.