Steve Fraze, long-time professor and administrator, to retire in January
By: Norman Martin
After serving in leadership roles for more than three decades as an educator and administrator within Texas Tech University's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Steve Fraze has announced plans to retire in early January. During his tenure at Texas Tech, Fraze earned a reputation for compassion toward students and colleagues, and a solid sense of service.
Fraze currently serves as the Shirley L. and LuCille Garrison Endowed Chair in Rural Youth Development and chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications. He also served as the college's interim dean from 2016 to 2018.
Fraze came to Texas Tech in 1988 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to full professor in 2004, and became chairman of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications in 2008. Separately, he coordinated the department's student teaching block from 1989 to 2008.
"Dr. Fraze has been a fixture in our department for a long time," said Scott Burris, professor and associate department chair in Tech's Department of Agricultural Education and Communications. "For me personally, my relationship with Dr. Fraze began when I was a student at Tech and he was my academic advisor and extends all the way to today as a mentor and friend.
"Under his leadership, our department has increased drastically both in size and in prominence. We will miss him greatly but his contributions will be a lasting legacy in our department."
A native of Dora, New Mexico, Fraze earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Lubbock Christian University and his master's degree, along with a teaching certificate, from Texas Tech. He received his doctorate from Texas A&M University. He previously worked as a visiting instructor in Texas A&M University's Department of Agricultural Education, and was a vocational agriculture teacher in New Home and Olton. He also served as a district engineer in the Dowell Division of Dow Chemical in Monahans, Texas.
Fraze's service to the university has garnered numerous awards, as well as being named to several leadership roles within his profession. He was honored with the Western Region American Association for Agricultural Education's Outstanding Agricultural Educator Award (2015). Separately, he served as associate superintendent of the Livestock Career Development Event for the National FFA Organization.
Other honors include National FFA 'VIP Citation' (2015); American Association for Agricultural Education Senior Fellow (2014); and service as president of the American Association for Agricultural Education (2015-2016). In addition, he received the Gamma Sigma Delta Service to Agriculture Award (2005); election to the Texas Tech Teaching Academy (2003); Texas FFA Association Distinguished Service Award (2002); and the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas' Distinguished Service Award (2000).
"It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. Fraze for more than a decade," said Courtney Meyers, a professor and graduate studies coordinator within the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications. "With his leadership, our department has grown to having the number one agricultural communications program in the nation and a reputation for excellence across all aspects of the department.
"While he is retiring, there is no doubt that the positive impact he made to the department, college, university, and profession will remain for years to come," she added.
While Fraze is retiring from Texas Tech, he isn't leaving higher education. Fraze will be returning to his New Mexico roots where he will be taking the helm as chairman of the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education at New Mexico State University-Las Cruces.
CONTACT: William Brown, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or email@example.com
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Editor: Norman Martin
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