Hall of Fame: AFS leaders honor outstanding alumni, special contributors
Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences highlighted its outstanding alumni and special contributors on Friday (Oct. 9) at a special 250-person event held in the department's livestock arena. Ten award winners were honored as well as members of the 1985, 1995 and 2005 Meat Judging Teams and the 2010 Wool Judging Team.
The award recipients included the following individuals and organizations:
Fran Morrison - Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Morrison is a gracious donor and supporter of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. She has set up several scholarship endowments to honor her husband, Don, and their sons. Recipients of the family's scholarships are members of the livestock judging, meat judging and rodeo team. Morrison gives from the heart and impacts several students each year.
Edgar Sotelo - Hall of Fame Graduate of DistinctionAward. Sotelo started his path to being a successful businessman and artist at the age of 6 in Juarez, Mexico. His true grit became evident when he graduated high school and decided to come to the United States. Legally, as a student, he began his education at Tech and graduated in 1988. Sotelo took another leap of faith and started Southwest Packaging Solutions, LLC, that has grown into a multimillion-dollar company. Sotelo is also a nationally recognized Western artist. His work has been featured by the AQHA and NCBA and has won several local, regional and national awards for his paintings.
Kris Wilson - Hall of Fame Horizon Award. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition under the guidance of CASNR Dean Michael Galyean. As a graduate student at Tech, he coached the horse judging team and also founded the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team, which was the first of its kind in the nation. In 2006, Wilson was hired as an assistant professor at Tech and taught until 2009. Today, Wilson is General Manager for the New Mexico Divisions of Silver Spur Ranches, Bell Ranch, and TO Ranch. Wilson manages a 515,000-acre commercial cattle operation with a $4.9 million annual budget and 25 full-time employees.
Jennifer Leheska - Hall of Fame Advanced Graduate of Distinction Award. Leheska is a registered and licensed dietitian who demonstrates her passion for helping people take control of their health and wellness through her work as a nutrition consultant. Most recently, Leheska joined the faculty at West Texas A&M University in the Sports and Exercise Science Department where she teaches nutrition and wellness courses. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Nutrition and Meat Science at Tech where she also completed her didactics program.
Gretchen Mafi - Meat Science Distinguished Alumni Award. Mafi earned her bachelor's degree in 1994 from Tech, a Master of Science degree in 1996 from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in animal acience with emphasis in meat science in 2000 from Tech. Mafi is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University where she conducts research and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in meat science. She also coaches the meat judging team.
Loni Woolley - Meathead of the Year Award. Woolley is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in meat science at Tech. While obtaining her master's degree in meat science, she coached the 2013 National Champion Meat Judging and Meat Science Quiz Bowl Teams, as well as the 2015 Meat Animal Evaluation Team, 2014 Meat Judging Team, and the 2011 and 2012 Meat Science Quiz Bowl Teams at Tech. Her master's work focused on developing an objective measurement technique for beef juiciness that can be used simultaneously with current industry objective measurements of beef tenderness.
Jodie Pitcock - Albert Usener Award. Pitcock earned a bachelor's degree in animal science in 1993 from Tech. Immediately following graduation, he moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to begin a career with the USDA Livestock and Seed, Livestock and Grain Market News. Currently, he serves as the Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Federal/State Market Reporting Supervisor for the state of Missouri and is stationed in St. Joseph, Mo.
Cargill, Inc - Excellence in Service Award. The Meat Science Excellence in Service Award is given to an individual, family, team, group or corporation who exemplifies excellence in unselfish service to the Texas Tech Meat Science Program. Cargill has been a partner and member of the Texas Tech Meat Science family since 1980. Thousands of students, families, faculty, staff and consumers have had their lives enriched through the unselfish giving of time and resources to the teaching, research and service-training missions of the Texas Tech Meat Science Program and the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.
Del Corral - Excellence in International Service Award. The International Center for Food Industry Excellence International Service Award is given to an individual, family, team, group or corporation who exemplifies excellence in unselfish service to the Texas Tech International Center for Food Industry Excellence. Del Corral has been a partner and member of the Tech family since 2012. The unselfish donation of resources to development of a cattle feeding and harvest system to combat food safety, security and quality has enriched the lives of many consumers in Latin America through the unselfish giving of time and resources to the teaching, research and service training missions of the Texas Tech International Center for Food Industry Excellence.
Program officials note that each Hall of Fame recipient received a granite plaque, Meat Science Award winners received meat cleavers in granite and past judging teams were given engraved cutting boards for their contributions to Tech's Animal and Food Sciences Department. The third annual Friends and Family event will be hosted during Homecoming Weekend next fall.
CONTACT: Michael Orth, Chair and Professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or email@example.com
1019NM15 / PHOTOS: (top to bottom) Fran Morrison, Kris Wilson, Jennifer Leheska, and Edgar Sotelo
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