Agriculture and Human Ecology Dean wins FFA honor

Donald Elkins, dean of Tennessee Tech University’s College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, has been selected to receive an Honorary American Degree from the Future Farmers of America.

Given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment, the award will be presented to him onstage during the 77th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., in October.

“I was thrilled to be nominated and selected for this prestigious honor. It means a lot to me because the organization is so close to my heart,” Elkins said.

Consisting of more than 464,000 student members in about 7,000 chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, FFA strives to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Elkins said his own relationship with the organization began when he was a student at Franklin County High School. As a senior, he served as president of his local chapter.

Other contributions that led to his nomination and subsequent state and national approval for the honor include his leadership on various national committees and establishment of the Agriculture and Human Ecology Ambassadors program at TTU.

The first such student ambassador program at the university, it serves as a student recruitment and public relations team for the college. In March 2002, the Deans’ Council presented him with an award for exemplary service to TTU because of his work establishing the program.

Elkins has also authored and co-authored various books and articles about crop production, and he has won several outstanding teaching awards during his career, including two national awards — one from the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture and the other from the American Society of Agronomy.