MANHATTAN, Kan. – Four individuals were honored for their great service to the Kansas FFA on Thursday evening at the 81st Kansas FFA State Convention on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, Kan.
The Honorary State FFA Degree is bestowed upon those who are helping to advance agricultural education and the FFA, and who have rendered outstanding services to the association. This year’s recipients of the honorary degree were Fred Cholick, dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture; Sharon Thielen, special events coordinator for the College of Agriculture, and Larry Lyder, current president of the Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators (KAAE).
Emily Surdez, Kansas FFA President, noted each recipient gives selflessly of his or her time to the organization in order to make a difference in members’ lives.
“Dr. Cholick has a mindset of putting students first, and he exemplifies this in his personable character and constant support of the Kansas FFA Association,” Surdez said. “Sharon plays an integral part in many events run by the Kansas FFA, including the State Career Development Events, and Mr. Lyder makes a commitment each day to the development of agricultural educators as KAAE president as well as impacting members as the advisor of the Hill City FFA chapter.”
In addition to the honorary degrees, the Kansas FFA honored Larry Erpleding, with the VIP Award. The VIP Award is for those individuals that have exemplified lifelong leadership and dedication to agriculture education and the FFA. Erpleding is a professor and former associate dean of academic programs in the College of Agriculture at K-State. Erpleding served the association as the Kansas FFA President from 1961-1962. Surdez noted his passion for agricultural education and FFA is evident today in his assistance at FFA events and recognition of the leadership opportunities that the organization provides to its members.
FFA is a national youth organization of 507,763 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture with 7,439 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. FFA strives to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit www.ksffa.org for more information.