By: Mollie Lastovica
Recognized for his contributions to agricultural education, Professor Alvin Larke, Jr., Ph.D., received the Honorary American Degree at the 2012 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
Larke was nominated for the distinction by the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences group, an organization that he has helped mentor for many years.
“I have been working with MANRRS for many years to help further advance underrepresented groups in agriculture,” Larke said.
He is now a stakeholder in the National FFA Foundation, and will serve a three year term on the Board of Directors representing the MANRRS organization. Larke has a passion for serving youth and helping them advance.
“This award is recognizing my support of an organization and youth for many years and my contribution to young people,” Larke said. “It was really neat. I love to think that I have always had a passion for young people and trying to mentor them into the proper channels of life.”
Most students who have worked with Larke at A&M recognize the commitment he has made to agricultural education and as a mentor in their lives.
“If it wasn’t for Dr. Larke, I would not be a college graduate today,” said Marcus Sodek, graduate student. “Dr. Larke is a true hero in his passion to help others and I appreciate everything he has done for me. God has truly blessed me by allowing Dr. Larke into my life. He is someone I look up to and he is my role model for who I want to become.”
Sodek stresses how worthy Larke is of his recognition as an Honorary American Degree recipient.
“Dr. Larke deserves this award for his hard work and dedication to helping others succeed,” Sodek said. “Dr. Larke is always willing to help others when they need it and enjoys working with students. He continues to influence others today by working with many young people in leadership.”
Larke instructs ALED 422, Cultural Pluralism in Agriculture, AGSC 301, Introduction to Agriculture Science Teaching and ALEC 630, Guidance and Counseling of Rural Youth.
“Dr. Larke is not like normal professors,” Sodek said. “His door is always open for his students and he is willing to do what it takes for them to succeed. In his classes it is not just about note taking and lecture. He incorporates his students into discussions and cares about their opinions. He doesn’t care if he gets recognition for his deeds … he just wants the individuals he helps to succeed.”
Larke is not the only faculty member who has been recognized by the FFA organization. In July, Continuing Education Assistant Professor Roger Hanagriff, Ph.D., and Professor and Associate Head for Graduate Programs Tim Murphy, Ph.D., received the Honorary Lone Star FFA Degree.
The Honorary Lone Star Degree is the highest honorary degree that the Texas FFA Association bestows.
Murphy has worked with Texas FFA members for many years as an educator and agricultural mechanics judge. Hanagriff has made contributions to state FFA associations through working with award applications and program assessment data.
Hanagriff and Murphy were recognized at the 84th Texas FFA Convention in Corpus Christi.