Vic Lechtenberg shows his AgriVision Award with Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman after the presentation ceremony at the Indiana State Fair. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Keith Robinson)
Purdue University Vice Provost for Engagement and former Dean of Agriculture Vic Lechtenberg has been recognized by the state of Indiana for his leadership in agriculture spanning more than 40 years.
Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman presented him with the 2011 AgriVision Award during a Celebration of Agriculture ceremony Wednesday (Aug. 17) at the Indiana State Fair.
The award, in its fifth year, is given to an Indiana resident who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in helping to reshape Indiana's agriculture to position the state as a world leader in agricultural production.
“Vic has been a shining example of what the AgriVision award represents,” Skillman said. “We are grateful for all of his countless contributions to agriculture and rural Indiana.”
Lechtenberg nurtured the creation of the Purdue Extension New Ventures Team and the Agricultural Innovation and Commercialization Center, two programs that foster economic development within the state and serve the learning needs of Indiana residents.
He developed the special Crossroads funding initiative for the state Legislature and coordinated public advocacy efforts that secured $3 million per year in a recurring fund. Lawmakers in 1999 approved a second major recurring funding initiative to fully fund local Extension programs.
Lechtenberg started at Purdue in 1968 as an instructor and became a professor of agronomy. He was appointed associate director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, now Agricultural Research Programs, in 1982 and later became associate dean of agriculture and interim dean before he was appointed dean in 1994. He served as dean until 2004, when he became vice provost for engagement.
As dean, he expanded undergraduate international education experiences and took the college from essentially no undergrads studying abroad in 1990 to nearly 200 in four years. Undergraduate enrollment, scholarship funds, and gender and minority diversity in faculty hires increased under his leadership.
Lechtenberg also led initiatives aimed at improving the quality of education in rural Indiana and integrating the research and Extension mission of land-grant universities to better serve crop producers, ranchers and agribusinesses in Indiana and nationally. He is a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Hall of Fame.