Tears shed and cheers rendered as 35 College of Agriculture and Human Sciences graduates, 9 dietetic interns and retiring agronomy professor, Dr. Juanito Reyes, entered the standing room only luncheon.
The University theme “The Best Is Yet to Come” was echoed as Dr. Alton Johnson, dean, addressed the graduates of their full potential. He encouraged each to make an impact to society, the agricultural industry and as alumni through giving so others can reach their best.
This philanthropic inference is how many historically black colleges and universities were established. However in changing times, it is imperative that alumni play a supportive role in the creation of funds for scholarships and obtaining the best and brightest of students, faculty and staff.
Staying true to the mission of the university and its rich legacy in educating generations of minority people to enter a network of strong men and women of purpose, resources of all sorts are needed. Alumni’s giving is important for the university because a philanthropic culture will garner success and sustainability. Not to mention, young ambitious graduates revel in their accomplishments and loyalty to their alma mater.
Conveying diligence in hard work is practical information; however, obtaining knowledge of self-perseverance, encouraging attitudes and behaviors to promote independence and stand in the face of adversity are sound life strategies. Although emphasis is put on financial support, there is nothing more valuable than loyal, dedicated philanthropy.
Loyalty is definitely what has been demonstrated by Dr. Reyes. A native of the Philippines, he gave 29 years educating the young minds in agronomy at the university. Choking on his words, “I have so many wonderful memories and am pleased to have gotten my start at Prairie View.” Adding, “The students are all good and want to learn. Technology has transformed the agricultural industry, but the basic agricultural knowledge transforms the students and I have seen many of PV’s students graduate and grow with both, basic and technological knowledge.”
Transitioning the basic knowledge of agricultural cultivation to modern technology improves the input-output relationship of the industry. Hence, the management of resources becomes more efficient and the knowledge is transferred faster between concept and usage. Therefore, better solutions emerge satisfying demand and sustaining future generations.
Agronomy student, Joshua Allen and Monsanto intern, said, “Dr. Reyes is patient and open to ideas. Not having him here next year is a personal loss for me because I gained so much knowledge from him. His classes prepared me and was instrumental in my knowledge to obtain this internship. I can say he will truly be missed.”
Other student’s had these things to say about Dr. Reyes:
“…fair and holds everyone to high standards, although we think his standards are unachievable, he pushes us beyond the threshold of learning.”
“We may not have labs, but he took his classes to the farm and gave us over 700 acres of lab work and time.”
“I feel confident that I will be able to compete with agricultural students from mainstream universities because Dr. Reyes motivated me to think beyond what our facilities may not have as opposed to others.”
The graduates announced their acceptance to graduate and professional schools along with their career endeavors in private sector and governmental agencies. Those concentrated in animal science are going to veterinarian schools and doctoral programs. Subsequently, the agricultural economic majors accepted positions with Monsanto, USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Services as well as tier 1 graduate schools. Many agronomy/soil science graduates will begin careers with USDA, US Army Corps of Engineers and private industry.
Students, give of yourself, time and finances to make a difference in the life of those coming after you, for this is philanthropy. The faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences salute each of you for a job well done and the positive expectations of your futures. Dr. Reyes, declaring that helping is not the enemy of productivity, but the mother lode to professionalism, creativity and motivation, your 29 years of exemplary service to the students, the university and the agricultural sector is true to the mission of giving back.
By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon