Stan L. Albrecht Honored with Scholarship
College of Agriculture Dean Noelle Cockett provided a lighthearted introduction as USU President Stan Albrecht looked on, unaware he was the "mystery" guest of honor.
President Albrecht thanked many for the scholarship in his name. First Lady Joyce Albrecht made the lead gift to the scholarship endowment.
The ceremony concluded with President Albrecht (center) joining students from the College of Agriculture for a ride around the Quad. The new College of Agriculture building rises in the background.
The crowd included state officials, university administrators, family members, faculty, staff and, true to the core principles of the individual being honored, there were plenty of students on hand for the surprise announcement on the Quad at Utah State University.
As College of Agriculture Dean Noelle Cockett began an introduction, the guest of honor scanned the crowed for the possible “target.”
“As this is College of Ag ‘month,’ our students have organized various events in the celebration,” Cockett said.
There was a panel presentation on sustainability, LAEP students dressing up parking lots for “Parking Day,” farm equipment displays across campus, a fashion show created from recycled items, an honors award dinner and more. Before the end of the week there will be the popular tractor parade, a rodeo and, for the hungry, the Utah Agricultural Products Barbecue.
But, none of that was the focus of the gathering on the Quad.
“We are honoring someone who has supported agriculture across the state and, in particular, the College of Agriculture,” Cockett said. “He is someone who embraces and epitomizes what the land-grant university is.”
Again, the honoree scanned the crowd for the unnamed recipient.
“This person has direct roots into the agriculture community,” Dean Cockett continued. “He was born in a rural county and continues to have a small agricultural operation where he grew up. He is also someone who continues those roots by wearing boots – with his suit.”
Ah, there’s a pretty good clue, and the field of possible honorees is reduced.
“He is also a very, very humble person, even to the point where it is very hard to honor him. And so, this is actually a surprise … and so, it is with no further ado … I am very, very pleased to announce the creation of the President Stan L. Albrecht Scholarship in Agriculture.”
And with that President Albrecht looked down at his boot-clad feet.
“This is a fitting way to honor the president,” Cockett said over the crowd’s applause. “Making higher education degrees available to students has always been a passion for President Albrecht, and this scholarship is a fitting recognition of all he does.”
To that end, an endowment has been created to support the scholarship, with USU’s First Lady Joyce Albrecht making the lead gift.
“It is a tremendous honor to have this scholarship in the College of Agriculture,” Cockett said. “President Albrecht’s impact across the university and the state is remarkable. He has shown notable commitment to all we do. And, above all else, he speaks of Utah State with great pride and love. He brings visibility to all we do by his statesmanship. ”
And, since the ceremony was a surprise, the only way to guarantee his attendance was to tell him it was for a ceremony to honor college of ag students. And, in true form, President Albrecht responded modestly.
“I guess I can forgo a funeral, OK?” he joked with the crowd.
“I can’t think of anything that I would appreciate and value more than this recognition. So, thanks to Joyce and everyone here for this. Every day I get to walk out of my office and look at what we are building across the Quad — the College of Agriculture’s new building. We’re forever putting something on the Quad that represents the heart and soul of this university, of this place, and that’s our history and heritage as an agricultural institution.”
But, President Albrecht reiterated, the reason he was there was for the students. In this case the premise of a student photograph with a request to wear his boots.
“Thank you. Please know how deeply honored I am. Thank you,” President Albrecht concluded.
But, the surprises weren’t quite over yet.
Ken White, department head of animal, dairy and veterinary sciences, stepped to the podium.
“President, we wanted to do something special,” White said. “The things you’ve done for the college and its new buildings have, in many instances, had a very direct impact on the animal, dairy and veterinary sciences department.”
And to the laughter and applause of the crowd, President Albrecht was presented a brass plaque that would be mounted, recognizing him, at one of the stalls — a horse stall— at the new facility.
When the laughter died down, on behalf of the College of Agriculture, White then presented President Albrecht a custom saddle – complete with the Aggie “A” on the horn.
And with that, Utah State University’s President, Stan L. Albrecht, saddled up and rode around the Quad with a group of students. Not a bad way to end a ceremony for someone who avoids the spotlight.
Contact: Skyler Di Stefano, Public Relations Specialist, USU College of Agriculture, (435) 797-7406, email@example.com
Writer: Patrick Williams, (435) 797-1354, firstname.lastname@example.org