Following 34 years of service to the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida, Dr. Rick Weldon retired this Fall, transitioning to the status of professor emeritus.
Weldon, professor of Food and Resource Economics and Associate Chair of the Department, came to the University of Florida in 1988 as an assistant professor after completing his Ph.D. in applied economics at the University of Minnesota that year. Dr. Weldon earned a BS degree in agricultural business management from Pennsylvania State University and an MS degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University.
During his tenure, he has served in many roles including several roles on both university and college-level committees such as the IFAS PDF/FEO committee which he chaired in the 2018-2019 academic calendar year. Actively involved in research and advancing the state of agricultural economics as a field as well, Weldon served as Co-Editor, Editor, and President of the Food Distribution Research Society as well.
However, he said his true passion and proudest moments came from his time spent in the classroom.
“I love to teach; that’s what I really came here to do, to teach,” Weldon said.
For undergraduates, Weldon taught Introduction to Agricultural Computer Applications, Financial Planning for Agribusiness, Advanced Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Financial Management, and Ag. Marketing Strategies. He also served as an Undergraduate Coordinator twice for a total of 8 years.
In his first year as a professor, he even taught department chair, Dr. Lisa House. According to Weldon, his fondest memories of his time in our department come from the time he spent as advisor to Gator NAMA during those early years of his tenure. Weldon helped the students prepare their products and pitches and oversaw their travel to competitions in locations such as New Orleans.
Not only does Weldon have a passion for teaching, but he also has a talent. He was recognized as a NACTA teaching fellow and by the UF/IFAS College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as Advisor of the Year during his time in the Undergraduate Coordinator role.
According to Dr. House, her fond memories of time spent in Dr. Weldon’s classroom were one of the factors that shaped her decision to return to the University of Florida as a faculty member.
“Like numerous other students, Dr. Weldon was a foundational influence in my career,” House said. “I can easily say I would not be where I am today if it were not for his passion for teaching and his ability to inspire me to reach for any goal.”
At the graduate level, Weldon taught Agribusiness Risk Management, Management Strategies for Agribusiness Firms and Ag. Finance. He has also chaired or co-chaired 19 master’s degree committees, 1 doctoral committee and served as a member on 45 committees.
The impact Weldon has had on students, UF faculty, and other academics in agricultural economics alike will be cherished.
While we are thankful for Dr. Weldon’s time among our faculty and excited for him to be able to enjoy his well-deserved retirement, we also look forward to continuing to see him around the department as joins us as professor emeritus. Dr. Weldon says he plans to spend his newfound free time with his wife Terry traveling to see more of the United States.
To current and future faculty members, he had this advice –
“Be yourself. That’s how you’ll succeed in this field and in connecting with students.”