BLACKSBURG, Va., March 19, 2003 – Andy Swiger, dean emeritus of agriculture at Virginia Tech, was named Man of the Year in Virginia Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine, and he received an award as a distinguished alumnus of his alma mater, Ohio State University.
In addition, Swiger, who retired Jan. 1, will receive the John N. Dalton Society of Friends of the College of Veterinary Medicine award May 10 during the commencement exercise for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Those and other recent honors bestowed upon Swiger were mentioned at a retirement function for him on the Virginia Tech campus March 8.
In the February edition of Progressive Farmer, a major agricultural magazine, Swiger was recognized for the impact he has had on the state's agriculture industry during more than a decade at the helm of Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The magazine noted that Swiger "has worked diligently to make Virginia Tech a leader in research and in teaching emerging biological sciences while preserving the university's traditional support of production agriculture."
During his tenure as dean, the college's biotechnology effort has matured into a program that has won national respect. The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) was established with many of its faculty members also holding positions in the agriculture college. Important new facilities have been planned and the efforts of agricultural researchers and of Virginia Cooperative Extension have been focused to serve emerging as well as traditional clients.
Virginia Tech has risen to No. 7 nationally in agricultural research, as reported by the National Science Foundation. Agricultural research and development accounts for one-third of the research spending at Virginia Tech.
The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences named Swiger a distinguished alumnus during a ceremony March 1 in Columbus, Ohio. That designation was awarded based on Swiger's professional accomplishments throughout his career as well as his contributions to the college.
Swiger earned his bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from that university in 1954. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Iowa State University. He worked as a geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before joining the faculty of the University of Nebraska.
In 1965, Swiger returned to Ohio State, where he established a comprehensive research program in beef and swine breeding and was promoted to professor. He joined the faculty at Virginia Tech as head of the Department of Animal Science in 1980. He served as director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station before being named dean of Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 1992.
Swiger has received a number of awards during his career, including the Rockerfeller Prentice Memorial Award, one of the highest awards available to animal scientists. He is also credited with having an impact on the field of animal breeding and quantitative genetics through his teaching activities. In 2000, he was inducted in the Animal Science Hall of Fame at Ohio State.
A native of Waverly, Ohio, Swiger and his wife, Mary, reside in Blacksburg.