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UT Agriculture Chancellor and Extension faculty honored on the national level

October 17, 2018

UT Award winners
UT honorees pose together. Left to right: UT Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Tim Cross, Linda Bower with th UT Ext.’s Eastern Region Office and Ann Berry of UT Ext. Family and Consumer Sciences. Not pictured: Heather Sedges Walalce with UT Ext. Family and Consumer Sciences. Photo courtesy of the Greeneville Sun.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The humble gentleman who leads thousands of employees at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture statewide is being recognized for his commitment to Extension and outreach work.

UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross has been selected as the 2018 Distinguished Service Ruby Award winner by Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) – an organization that includes thousands of Extension professionals from land grant universities. He received the organization’s most prestigious accolade at the ESP national meeting Oct. 2 in Manhattan, Kansas.

“This is certainly an unexpected honor, and I’m truly humbled to receive this prestigious award from Epsilon Sigma Phi – an organization that I have deep admiration for,” Cross says. “I consider this a team award that I share with all those I’ve had the pleasure of working with throughout my career, including my Extension co-workers, industry partners and the generous donors who make so much of our work possible.”

Cross has an academic career that spans three decades and three states – including time at Fort Hays State University in Kansas and Oregon State University. In 1994, he joined UTIA in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Cross has also served as dean of UT Extension and is now UTIA’s third chancellor.

Cross has served on the National Extension Committee on Policy, National Council for Food and Agricultural Research, as well as the Tennessee Governor’s Rural Task Force and Health Committee. He established a strategic plan that has improved statewide Extension branding, implemented a peer mentoring program, developed professional development training for faculty and agents, and provided a healthy lifestyles program for all Extension employees.

Linda Bower, UT Extension Eastern Region leader for Family and Consumer Sciences, is the recipient of the ESP Administrative Leadership Award for her outstanding service as an Extension educator and for leadership. Bower is among four recipients for this national recognition.

Ann Berry with UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and a past ESP national president, received the Continued Excellence Award for her exceptional service in delivering educational programs that significantly impact and improve lives. In her career, Berry has worked with Extension in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Heather Sedges Wallace, also with UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, was honored by ESP with the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Award for Creative Excellence. Wallace was recognized for her innovative work that catalyzed rural community engagement in addressing wellness and childhood trauma using a policy, systems and environment (PSE) approach.

Cross credits the success of Extension to dedicated people and partnerships. “UT Extension has more than a 100-year history of advancing Tennessee, thanks to exceptional county financial support, dedicated employees and volunteers, and a strong partnership with our 1890 institution – Tennessee State University,” he says. “Long term successful state programs tend to result in professionals who are heavily engaged in associations like Epsilon Sigma Phi, providing effective leadership in the form of officers and receiving their share of recognition as award winners.”