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Virginia Tech faculty members honored at National FFA Convention


FFA Winners Daniels and Winston Left photo: Alan McDaniel received the National FFA VIP Award. Right photo: Dave Winston was awarded the Honorary American FFA degree.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 6, 2011 – The National FFA Organization (also known as Future Farmers of America) honored Virginia Tech faculty members Alan McDaniel and Dave Winston, both of Blacksburg, at its national convention, held Oct. 19-22 in Indianapolis. 

McDaniel received the National FFA VIP Award and Winston was awarded the Honorary American FFA degree.

“The VIP citation recognizes the dedicated individuals who contribute to the FFA mission of student success through their hard work and cooperation,” said National FFA Organization CEO Dwight Armstrong. “Without such strong and outstanding commitment, FFA would not be able to help build strong character in its members, who in turn build strong families, communities, and industries.”

McDaniel has been a horticulture professor for more than 25 years in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He has taught classes in floral design, controlled plant environment, and vegetable crops and has served as an academic advisor for numerous students. The National FFA VIP Award is one of the most prestigious honors given by the organization.

Winston is the 4-H dairy specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension and has been teaching at Virginia Tech since 1994. He has also been the advisor for the Dairy Club for the past 14 years and is vice chairman of the National 4-H Dairy Conference Planning Committee. The Honorary American FFA Degree is given to teachers who have created high-quality agriculture education programs that inspire and motivate students.

“I am very fortunate to continue to work with FFA members in dairy-related activities,” Winston said. “I was humbled and honored by this recognition from the organization that has been so instrumental in my life.”

McDaniel received his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Winston received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech.

The National FFA Organization uses agricultural education programs to promote leadership, scholarship, personal growth, and career success in the lives of students. The organization supports local and state FFA associations through research and support.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

Written by Kelly Robinson, a senior majoring in communications and international studies and an intern for the Office of Communications and Marketing in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.