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Retired professor Carol Lehtola receives her alma mater’s distinguished alumna award

Carol Lehtola

Carol Lehtola


GAINESVILLE, Florida–Retired University of Florida Professor Carol Lehtola is the recipient of the 2014 Bethany Lutheran College Distinguished Alumna Award.

Lehtola grew up on the family farm in Ulen, Minnesota, was active in 4H and interested math and science. Lehtola earned an associate of arts degree from Bethany, located in Mankato, Minnesota, in 1971. She then transferred to South Dakota State University (SDSU), where she was the first female ever to be enrolled in agricultural engineering courses.

After working for four years in the Baltimore area, Lehtola and her family moved to Iowa and she decided to pursue her post-graduate education, earning a master’s and doctoral degree in agriculture at Iowa State University.

Lehtola renovated agriculture safety courses at Iowa State and also developed a videotape version used for teaching off-campus students. After working for Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health located at the University of Iowa, she moved to the University of Florida, where she worked in extension and taught.

Lehtola is a pioneer in her field of expertise – agriculture safety. She has written dozens of articles for professional publication and has received numerous awards including Undergraduate Teacher of the Year at the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recognition by The Extraordinary Women Engineers Project Coalition, and in 2006 was featured in Changing Our World: True Stories of Women Engineers, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Lehtola recently retired and uses her skills to give back the community and her church. She has two children and three grandchildren in Iowa.

By Kimberly Moore Wilmoth, 352-294-3302,

Source: Lance Schwartz at Bethany Lutheran College, 507-344-7427,