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Carl Beeman Receives E.T. York Distinguished Service Award

Carl Beeman accepts the E.T. York Distinguished Service Award from Jimmy Cheek
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Carl Beeman, former chairman of the University of Florida’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, has received the E.T. York Distinguished Service Award, to honor his contributions to the people of Florida through UF agriculture and natural resources programs.

Beeman received the award Nov. 21 at Rolfs Hall, during a department faculty meeting. His name will be added to the plaque commemorating all recipients of the award, which has been given to only a handful of individuals since 1983.

“If it hadn’t been for Dr. Beeman, I might never have come to UF,” said Jimmy Cheek, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Thanks to his efforts, the agricultural education and communications department had become one of the finest programs of its kind.”

Beeman was department chairman from 1975 until his retirement in 1996, and presided over a period of tremendous development, which saw the program move from UF’s College of Education to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

He is perhaps best known for expanding the department and making its curriculum more comprehensive. Thanks to his efforts, it was among the nation’s first agricultural education departments to add a communications program, something that is now commonplace.

“The addition of the communications option to our program was in response to a perceived need by both academia and the agricultural industry,” Beeman said. “More emphasis was needed for better communicators and communications. The faculty was 100 percent behind this effort and I think an outstanding program was developed. It now has more students than any other option in the department, and the graduates are in strong demand.”

Beeman came to UF in 1967, as an assistant professor in what was then called the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, part of the College of Education. He was instrumental in bringing the department to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in 1973. The department’s undergraduate enrollment increased by almost 50 percent in the next few years, and graduate enrollment more than doubled.

Beeman’s academic interests focused on curriculum development, and he was involved in numerous outreach activities beyond UF, including international trips to help enhance agricultural education in Third World countries.

He was also greatly interested in mentoring students and new faculty, and played a role in the career development of Cheek and Larry Arrington, IFAS dean for extension, as well as hundreds of other agricultural-education professionals. Several former faculty members hired and mentored by Beeman are now department heads and deans at other universities.

Born in Morton, Miss., Beeman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from Mississippi State University in 1957 and 1961, respectively, and a doctoral degree in agricultural education from Cornell University in 1967.

Beeman has been very active in the National FFA Organization, serving on its state and national boards of directors, and the National FFA Foundation board of trustees.

He has held leadership positions in numerous other organizations, including the American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, the American Association of Vocational Instructional Materials, the American Vocational Association, the Florida Association of Vocational and Adult Teacher Educators, the Florida Vocational Association, Gamma Sigma Delta and the National Vocational Agricultural Teachers’ Association.

Honors and awards to Beeman include the American Farmer Degree from the National FFA Organization, the UF President’s Medallion for Distinguished Service, and the Southern Region Outstanding Service Award from the National Vocational Agricultural Teachers’ Association. He has also been inducted into the Florida Vocational Association Hall of Fame and the Florida FFA Hall of Fame.

In 2006, the Carl E. Beeman Scholarship and Student Enrichment Fund was established in his honor; it’s awarded to Department of Agricultural Education and Communications undergraduates for academic achievement, leadership activities and professional potential.

He has written, edited and presented numerous educational documents including books, monographs, scientific papers, presentations and curriculum materials. He also served as associate chief marshal and chief marshal in UF commencement ceremonies for many years.

Beeman and his wife, Ruth, live in Gainesville and have two daughters, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.