The Penn State Alumni Association, the biggest of its kind in the world, has a long list of awards it gives to graduates who have done things that bring glory to old State.
There are volunteer awards, philanthropy awards, awards for members of the alumni council. But the Alumni Fellow Award stands out as special.
The cast bronze statue has been given to select, nominated alumni who have been leaders in their fields and “accept an invitation from the president of the university to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty and administrators.”
One of the newest 19 to receive the honor is Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding.
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Redding is a Penn State alum three times over with a 1982 bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a 1999 master’s in agricultural and extension education. He also graduated from the Penn State Agribusiness Executive Program in 2005.
“Russell Redding has earned a reputation as an extraordinary and highly effective public servant and administrator,” said Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, in a statement. “He has a unique ability to connect with diverse stakeholders, a thorough understanding of the issues affecting agriculture and a vision for creating opportunities for the next generation of agricultural professionals. I’ve also found Secretary Redding to be a great supporter of the college and an excellent colleague in addressing the challenges facing Pennsylvania agriculture. We’re delighted for him to receive this well-deserved honor.”
Redding formally became the state’s 26th secretary of agriculture in May, his second time in a position he previously held under Gov. Ed Rendell. That office comes with a special tie to the university, making Redding an ex officio trustee.
“When I learned that I had been selected as one the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award recipients, I was elated yet humbled,” said Redding. “To be added to the ranks of the more than 700 individuals who received this award before me is a true honor. Penn State continues to play a critical role in my life. From earning both my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree from the university’s College of Agricultural Science and now to be here tonight is very fulfilling. I am proud to be a Penn State alum and so thankful for my continued connection with the university.”
The alumni association has honored more than 700 Penn State graduates as alumni fellows since 1973.