Bill Bennett, emeritus CASNR visionary and administrator, dies at 90
By: Norman Martin
William "Bill" Bennett, a longtime friend of Texas Tech University and an outstanding member of the Department of Plant and Soil Science's emeritus faculty, passed away today (Dec. 29) from a respiratory-related illness. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 10) at the Resthaven chapel in Lubbock.
"The term of a gentleman and a scholar best describes Dr. Bill Bennett," said Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Interim Dean Steven Fraze. "His vision 50-years-ago for a sustained scholarship program for CASNR students has resulted in the best scholarship program at Texas Tech, and is a model for raising funds that we still subscribe to today. He will be missed, but never forgotten by those of us who knew him."
Bennett was a trailblazer in raising money for scholarships to increase recruitment of students, in addition to spearheading creation of the college's Ambassadors for Agriculture and Agri-Techsans programs.
The college's Ag Ambassador Program is a group of students dedicated to spreading the story of American agriculture, natural resources and their opportunities for youth in these fields. Each ambassador has extensive experience in public speaking, primarily through 4-H, FFA and various other speaking competitions. The Agri-Techsans are a select group of undergraduates who assist with recruiting for and promoting Texas Tech and CASNR.
Bennett received his bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University, and his master's and doctorate degrees were from Iowa State University. Following graduation Bennett served as an Extension Soil Chemist with Texas A&M University.
The Arkansas native joined Tech's faculty in 1968, and taught in the Department of Plant and Soil Science during his tenure. Other positions he held include CASNR Interim Dean; Interim Chair of the Department of Park Administration & Landscape Architecture; Associate Dean for Resident Instruction; Associate Dean for Development; and Director of Development. During his tenure Bennett worked to raise the college's endowment to nearly $10 million, an amount that was the largest endowment on campus at the time of his retirement in 1997.
In 2011, CASNR leaders unveiled a newly re-named Dr. Bill Bennett Student Success Center located in the Goddard Building dean's office suite. "The Bill Bennett Student Success Center strives to assist every current CASNR student, as well as prospective students," said Cindy Akers, CASNR's Associate Dean for Academic & Student Programs. "The student-centered model is a tribute to Dr. Bennett."
In 2007, CASNR officials selected Bennett as one of the three individuals honored as a Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalists. The award was presented at the college's 80th annual Pig Roast at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. The annual award, established in 1969, honors individuals for their contributions to Texas agriculture in the areas of agribusiness, production and public service.
Separately, Bennett was the author of a book packed with Texas Tech tidbits and little known information. Titled Tech Trivia, it contains over 500 facts from athletics to academics. For example, students often refer to the 89,600-pound Tech seal as "the Oreo." Also, it took 1.2 million bricks to build the 15,098-seat United Supermarkets Arena.
CONTACT: Steven Fraze, Interim Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0103NM18 / Editor's Note: A memorial service for Bill Bennett will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, at the chapel at Resthaven in Lubbock. For more information, check here
- Agricultural & Applied Economics
- Agricultural Education & Communications
- Animal & Food Sciences
- Landscape Architecture
- Natural Resources Management
- Plant & Soil Science
- Veterinary Science
Editor: Norman Martin
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