TTU alumna Dana D. York to speak at summer commencement on Aug. 2

Dana D. York, one of the nation's most influential leaders in this country's efforts to conserve soil, water and other natural resources, will address about 470 Tennessee Tech University graduates, their families and friends at this summer's commencement ceremony.

Ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, in the Hooper Eblen Center.

Selected as associate chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2004, York has provided more than three decades of progressive leadership at the county, state, regional and national levels. As the NRCS' highest ranking female leader and first female associate chief, she provides leadership for a $3.4 billion budget.

NRCS works directly with landowners to help protect the nation's soil and water resources on private land in a voluntary, science-based approach. It also works in partnership with a broad array of state and local groups to sustain and enhance environmental quality.

From 2001 through 2004, York served as director of the NRCS Operations Management and Oversight Division with responsibility for the agency's operations management, including monitoring operations, business planning and accountability, and development and monitoring of Integrated Accountability and Executive Information systems. She also directed the agency's efforts on quality assurance, oversight and evaluation.

York began her career with NRCS as a student trainee while attending Tennessee Tech. She has held various positions with the agency in Tennessee and Ohio, including soil conservationist, district conservationist and deputy state conservationist. She joined the NRCS National Headquarters staff in 1999 as a special assistant to the chief.

In 2007, York received the President's Distinguished Rank Award, the highest award given to a career employee for leadership. In 2008, TTU honored her as the Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Agricultural and Human Sciences.

She is a native of Tennessee where she received a bachelor's degree in agricultural science from TTU and a master's degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Middle Tennessee State University through the USDA Graduate Studies Program.

Following summer commencement, TTU will have granted more than 63,000 degrees, nearly 35,000 of them since 1986.

Students graduating from TTU this summer hail from 35 states including Tennessee, 62 Tennessee counties and 38 foreign countries. They represent 31 undergraduate fields of study and 19 graduate fields.

SPECIAL NOTE: Due to renovations, the east main entrance to Hooper Eblen Center will be closed, and seating has been reduced to about 4,200. However, organizers expect the seating will accommodate the estimated number of guests. Also, students who must visit the ticket windows to pick up their diplomas must enter the ticket lobby via the exterior lobby doors on the east side. An officer will be stationed there, and family and friends will not be able to accompany anyone to this area.

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