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CALS announces awardees of honorary recognition, service and alumni awards

On Thursday, November 12, the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) will present its Honorary Recognition Award to Faye Jones, Tom Pfaff and George Roemer and its Distinguished Service Award to Norlin “Ben” Benevenga. Michael Doyle and Robert Spitzer will both receive the CALS Distinguished Alumni Award.

These are the highest honors bestowed by the college. The Honorary Recognition Award, established in 1909, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to their professions, their communities and the university. The Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement and service, has been presented since 2009. The Distinguished Service Award, first presented in 1994, recognizes meritorious service by CALS faculty and staff members.

The awards will be presented at the CALS Honorary Recognition Banquet on the evening of Nov. 12 in the Varsity Room of Union South, 1308 W. Dayton Street, Madison. For more information and to register for the event, visit www.cals.wisc.edu/honorary/.

The 2015 Honorary Recognition Awardees are:

Faye Jones
Faye Jones

Faye Jones is the executive director of Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), a nonprofit organization based in Spring Valley, Wisconsin that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing the education, resources and expertise farmers need to succeed. Over the last 15 years, under Jones’ leadership, MOSES has become the premier organization of its kind in the nation. Jones is well known and respected for the development of the annual Organic Farming Conference. Held in LaCrosse, Wisconsin each February, the conference attracts thousands from around the country and showcases the state’s innovative and productive organic agriculture community.

Tom Pfaff Jr
Tom Pfaff, Jr.

Tom Pfaff, Jr., along with his wife Sara, owns and operates his family farm, Pfaff’s Prairie Dairy, a 450-cow dairy in Melrose, Wisconsin. Since graduating from UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course in 1981, he has continued to learn and help others learn by remaining connected to the university. He is a leader among dairymen in the region and is known for aiding researchers and extension experts in improving dairy practices.  Pfaff regularly opens his farm to visitors with the goal of educating the community, improving dairy farming as a whole and expanding the knowledge of other farmers.

George Roemer
George Roemer

George Roemer is an international advocate for agriculture with experiences traveling abroad and hosting international guests in his home to help others improve production and training methods in their communities. He has been an educator and a farmer in his home of Harford, Wisconsin, but is also celebrated for his volunteer work in Afghanistan, Kenya, Mali and Nicaragua. Roemer has dedicated his career to assisting communities and improving agriculture.

Norlin Benevenga
Norlin Benevenga

Norlin “Ben” Benevenga was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Animal Sciences from 1966 until his retirement in 2002. Benevenga is well-known as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as new faculty. His passion for nurturing critical thinking is respected by those who look to him for his inquisitive, honest, fair and insightful guidance. In retirement, Benevenga serves as the chair of the CALS Animal Use and Care Committee and chair of the All Campus Animal Planning Advisory Committee, where he brings his critical eye and devotion to team work to improve animal well-being, create a safer working environment and ensure regulatory compliance.

Michael Doyle
Michael Doyle

Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology and director of the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety, has an international reputation in the food science community for being an expert in food safety issues. He is responsible for several important developments in the food industry, is highly sought after for his expertise and has improved the safety of the world’s food supply. Prior to his career at the University of Georgia, Doyle was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also obtained all three of his academic degrees.

Robert Spitzer
Robert Spitzer

Robert Spitzer also obtained all three of his degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he attended in the 1940s. Since then, he has dedicated himself to service in the food, nutrition and agricultural industries, and he is nationally and internationally recognized for his business leadership and commitment to solving problems associated with world hunger and poverty. Spitzer serves as the Director and Senior Mentor of Kikkoman Foods, Inc. He helped establish the company’s first U.S. production facility in Walworth, Wisconsin, expanding the market for Wisconsin soybeans and positively impacting the state’s economy.

For more information, contact Kara Luedtke, kara.luedtke@wisc.edu, (608) 890-2999.

Photos of the awardees are available online at http://go.wisc.edu/2015_honorary_recognition.

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