Texas Tech University

2018 Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Young Alumni

Texas Tech University's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources recognized six distinguished alumni on Feb. 26 at the university's McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. The 2018 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:

Christopher Hoffman

Christopher Hoffman of Clinton, Mississippi. He received a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture from Texas Tech (1988), and is a licensed landscape architect for the state of Mississippi (1990). He is a Certified Landscape Architect with the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. In 1994, Hoffman established Christopher B. Hoffman Landscape Architect, a Clinton, Mississippi-based firm that provides site and master planning, grading and drainage, and construction detailing services with a focus on mixed used developments, commercial, health care, industrial, subdivision and educational projects. He has been part of 14 award-winning projects. Separately, he was appointed to a five-year term on the Mississippi Landscape Architectural Advisory Committee of the Mississippi State Board of Architecture in 2014. He is an active member of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, serving as president (1993–1994) and chapter advocacy chair for the past eight years. In 2015, Hoffman was named president-elect of the Board of Directors for the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, and served as the organization's president (2017). Please view the award video.

Brent Pemberton

H. Brent Pemberton of Tyler. He received a bachelor's degree in horticultural science focusing on ornamental horticulture from Texas Tech (1978). The Temple native received his doctorate in floriculture from the University of Minnesota. A professor and a fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Science, Pemberton has been a project leader for ornamental research at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton since 1982. His research specialties include bedding plant production and greenhouse and garden performance evaluations, field and nursery production of garden roses, field evaluation of roses for disease resistance and heat tolerance, effects of heat on flowering of poinsettia, postharvest performance, and plant growth regulators. He is chair of the executive board for the Texas Superstar Program, and received the Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence Team Award (2016). Please view the award video.

Jim Ray

James "Jim" Ray of Canyon. The Dalhart native received a bachelor's degree in range management from Texas Tech (1987) and his master's degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences from South Dakota State University (1990). He's had a varied career in traditional wetland, waterfowl and wildlife management positions and has been an advocate and partner for research, graduate student and faculty at Texas Tech for more than two decades. Previously Ray served as a migratory bird and wetlands biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (Region 1) and currently works as wildlife biologist and scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy's Pantex Plant near Amarillo. He has presented or co-presented more than 65 presentations at professional meetings, and authored or co-authored more than 100 magazine and journal articles, and one book. His publications have won Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society Outstanding Publication Awards seven times. Please view the award video.

Lynn Scherler

Lynn Scherler of Castle Pine, Colorado. Scherler received a bachelor's degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech (1997) and is a graduate of Louisiana State University's Graduate School of Banking. He has been in agricultural lending for more than two decades, and currently serves as chief lending officer for American AgCredit based in Santa Rosa, California. In that position he is responsible for ensuring an integrated, united and coordinate effort between the retail credit delivery teams inclusive of the customer hubs, express, retail operations, appraisal and loan documentation functions. Scherler is a member of American AgCredit's Management Executive Committee, along with several other credit, risk, and operational committees. He is the first recipient of CASNR's Outstanding Young Alumni Award (2011). In the past he has served on Texas Tech's Cotton Economics Research Institute Advisory Committee, and the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council Executive Committee, among others. Scherler was instrumental in the establishment of the Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness, the first endowed chair established within Tech's Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (2008). Please view the award video.

Bobby Waddle

Bobby Waddle of DeSoto. Waddle received a bachelor's degree in agriculture education (1955), and a master's degree in sociology from the University of Northern Colorado (1972). Following graduation from Texas Tech, he began a career in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a flight instructor and fighter pilot. The DeSoto native flew more than 150 combat missions, and has more than 5,000 hours of military flying time. He served as commander of the 40th Cadet Squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and as was chief of the Air Force Academy Activities Group, and deputy chief of staff for education at Air Training Command. Waddle received two Legion of Merit Awards, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and 11 Air Medals. After retiring as a colonel in 1985, he returned to Texas to work and manage his family's farming and ranching interests. He served in several posts in DeSoto including being a member of the city council, as well as DeSoto's mayor pro tem and mayor. In 2005, the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce created the “Bobby Waddle Citizen of the Year Award.” Please view the award video.

Dale Woerner

Dale Woerner of Greely, Colorado. He received a bachelor's degree (2003) and master's degree (2005) in animal science from Texas Tech. His doctorate in animal science is from Colorado State University (2009). Woerner is currently an associate professor in Colorado State's Department of Animal Sciences. During his time in Colorado, he has helped to secure more than $11 million in funding, co-authored more than 55 peer-reviewed articles, and has advised or co-advised 26 graduate students. He is a member of the university's Microbial Ecology Group, and a program of research and scholarly excellence member for the university's Center for Meat Safety and Quality. Recent honors for Woerner include being recognized as a “Top 10 Industry Leader” by Cattle Business Weekly, a Hall of Fame Young Alumni inductee in Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences and recipient of an American Meat Science Association's Achievement Award. Please view the award video.

Ashlee Vinyard

Ashlee Vinyard of Arlington, Virginia, is the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. She received a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from Murray State University, and a master's degree in agricultural education from Texas Tech (2004). Vinyard has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. for more than 13 years, and currently serves as the chief of staff for Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX 21st District). In the role, she oversees 17 congressional staff members in both Washington, D.C. and Texas, in addition to handling legislative, communication, constituent services and outreach functions. Recent honors for Vinyard include the Association of Communication Excellence's Outstanding Graduate Student Research Proposal Award (2004); Murray State University's Outstanding Young Agricultural Alumna (2012), and Texas Tech's Outstanding Agricultural Communications Alumna (2017). Please view the award video.