Texas Tech University

2017 Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Young Alumni

Current Distinguished Alumni

Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources honored six distinguished alumni on Feb. 20 at the university’s McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. The Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Young Alumni Awards honor graduates who’ve made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments and careers have brought distinction to the college and to the professions associated with agriculture and natural resources.

The recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards were:

  • Dawn DeBerry Stump of Washington, D.C. She is a principal at Stump Strategic, a consulting and advocacy firm helping clients proactively engage federal policy makers and navigate the intersection of public policy and politics. Stump received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1996.
  • Kristina Boone of Manhattan, Kansas. She is a department head and professor in communications and agricultural education at Kansas State University. Starting this April, Boone will begin a new role as the director of The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute. Boone received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications in 1986.
  • Mandy Carr Johnson of Centennial, Colorado. She is the senior executive director of science with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Johnson also leads the beef safety research program and facilitates the functions of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council. She received bachelor’s (1994), master’s (1995) and doctorate (1999) degrees in animal science.
  • Shawn Benge of Washington, D.C. He serves as associate director of park planning, facilities, and land with the National Park Service. Benge is in charge of policy development, program accountability, budget formulation for development planning, land acquisition, facility operations, and design/construction activities across the national park system. He received a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture in 1989.
  • Dale Rollins of San Angelo. He is a professor and extension wildlife specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and executive director of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation, a 4,700 acre research/demonstration ranch in Fisher County. He received his doctorate in range science in 1983.
  • Eric Best of Lubbock. He serves as a technical agronomic advisor with Monsanto. He has been the technology development and technical agronomist for the firm since 2007. He received his bachelor’s (1994) and master’s (2005) degrees in crop science.

In addition, the college recognized one outstanding young alumnus. The recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award was Billy Zanolini of College Station. He is an assistant professor and extension specialist for Youth Livestock and Agriculture with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He is responsible for coordinating 4-H and other youth-oriented agriculture education programs, and has developed and installed more than 600 learning strategies and programming efforts through the Texas 4-H Association and other youth agriculture organizations. He received his bachelor’s (2004) and master’s (2006) degrees in animal science.