Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

College Awards

The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture presents a number of awards annually.

The Jim Hicks Agricultural Award is given to an an individual in recognition of their achievements in agriculture and their contributions to agricultural education. It is named after businessman Jim Hicks, who was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2015, in honor of his achievements in the agricultural industry and his long-time support of agriculture education. The award is presented at the college's Spring Harvest dinner. To nominate a candidate, please submit the information by Sept. 1 to the dean's office at agdean@cpp.edu or c/o The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, 3801 West Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768.

Every year, the Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association presents the Distinguished Alumni Awards. One alumnus from each college and athletics are chosen for the honor. The criteria include:

  • outstanding achievement in a profession or a vocation
  • service to a local, national or global community
  • service to Cal Poly Pomona
  • nominees must have graduated from Cal Poly Pomona or the Voorhis campus
  • recipients can only receive the award once
  • current faculty and staff and members of the alumni association's board of directors are ineligible.
To nominate an alumnus from the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, please submit the information by Oct. 1 to the dean's office at agdean@cpp.edu or c/o The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, 3801 West Temple Ave., Pomona, CA 91768.

In addition, the college solicits nominations and selects honorees for the following awards:

  • The Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year Award: is given to the advisor who does the best quality work in advising students on academics and their career plans. Honorees will receive a $500 cash award and certificate during the College of Agriculture's commencement ceremony in June. The university president also hosts an event where outstanding advisors are honored during the spring quarter. The honoree's name will be in inscribed on a permanent plaque displayed in the College of Agriculture.
  • The Teacher of the Year Award: given to the teacher who demonstrates, caring, the ability to managing the learning process, subject matter competence, zeal for teaching, and scholarly writings, development of new curriculum or other teaching materials or other contributions. The honorees will receive a plaque and a $500 cash award at commencement. 
  • The Julian A. McPhee Outstanding Student Scholar Award: this award is traditionally presented to the college valedictorian at commencement.
  • The John E. Andrews Student Leader of the Year Award: is given to an undergraduate and graduate student for scholarship, service, and contributions to others, including fellow students, their departments, the food and agricultural industry and community. Faculty, staff and fellow students can make nominations.
  • The Staff of the Year Award: given to a staff member who demonstrates caring, good communication skills, initiative, the ability to assist with the learning process and contributions to a department, the college or university. Recipients will be honored at commencement and given a $500 cash award.

2017-18 Awardees

Jim Hicks Agricultural Achievement Award

A.G. Kawamura
A.G. Kawamura
George Soares
George Soares

Former California Food & Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura and attorney George H. Soares are the 2017 recipients of the Jim Hicks Agricultural Achievement Award. They are the first co-recipients in the three-year history of the award.

Kawamura is a third-generation grower and shipper from Orange County who served as the secretary of the California Department of Food & Agriculture from 2003 to 2010.

Through their company, Orange County Produce LLC, Kawamura and his brother, Matt, are building an interactive 21st century, 100-acre agricultural show case at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. A progressive urban farmer, he has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural areas of Southern California.

Kawamura also is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a national acclaimed nonprofit organization that is developing innovative and sustainable collaborations for 21st century agriculture.

A lawyer who has been called the premier agricultural lobbyist in California, Soares has been ranked as one of the top 100 players in California politics by Capitol Weekly and Politics Magazine.

He is a founding member and managing partner of Kahn, Soares & Conway L.L.P., a law firm that represents clients before the state Legislature and regulatory agencies. Among the law firm’s accomplishments were passage of the largest tax relief package ever for California agriculture and the creation of a landmark body of law that authorizes formation of state commissions allowing growers and handlers of agricultural commodities to engage in collective activities.

A graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific, Soares also is a partner in the Environmental Solutions Group LLC, a consulting firm that provides regulatory services involving pesticides, air and water quality. He and his wife Gloria also own a dairy and farming operation in the San Joaquin Valley.  

Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award

W.B. 'Butch' Lindley
W.B. "Butch" Lindley

W.B. “Butch” Lindley (’67, agronomy) was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a partner in J & L Farms.

Along with his wife, Vivien, Lindley established the Wilford B. and Vivien Lindley Endowment to benefit the College of Agriculture.

He is a member of the university’s Founders’ Society and the Kellogg/Voorhis Heritage Society. In addition, Lindley has been a member of the alumni association’s Rose Float chapter for more than 40 years.

Distinguished Alumni Award for the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Richard Frencer
Richard Frencer

Richard Frencer (’67, agronomy) is the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus of Huntley College of Agriculture. He spent 30 years working with agricultural consulting firms Union Carbide, Rhone Poulenc AG Co., and Bayer Ag, as well as an independent food production professional. During his career, he earned numerous national awards for outstanding sales.

Now retired, Frencer is involved with the Boise Valley Fly Fishers Association and is a staunch supporter of Henry’s Fork Foundation in Ashton, Idaho, which seeks to protect the natural resources of the river ecosystem.

Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year Award

Bonny Burns-Whitmore
Bonny Burns-Whitmore

Human Nutrition & Food Science Professor Bonny Burns-Whitmore was chosen as the Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year Award, given to the advisor who does the best quality work in advising students on academics and their career plans.

Students who nominated Burns-Whitmore praised her for her passion for teaching and her commitment to her students.

“I have taken two classes with her, and I am always on my toes. I learned quickly that she expects critical thinkers and hard workers,” one wrote. “Although Dr. Burns-Whitmore is busy, she never misses an email. Her prompt responses surprise me, because I have witnessed dozens of students in and out of her office daily. She makes time for all of us.”

Teacher of the Year Award

Gabriel Davidov-Pardo
Gabriel Davidov-Pardo

Human Nutrition & Food Science Assistant Professor Gabriel Davidov-Pardo was chosen as the 2017 Teacher of the Year in his second year at Cal Poly Pomona.

Students who nominated Davidov-Pardo spoke of how enthusiastic, approachable and patient he was with students, even while presenting challenging material.

“What I found unprecedented in his behavior toward his students’ projects was that he wanted each project to succeed as badly as his students,” one said. “I have found that he takes pride in his students’ success, not only his own.”

Julian A. McPhee Award

Ellen Tang
Ellen Tang

Ellen Tang, a foods and nutrition major, was chosen as the winner of the 2017 Julian A. McPhee Award given to the valedictorian of the graduating class.

John E. Andrews Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year

Branden Garner
Branden Garner

Branden Garner was named the 2017 John E. Andrews Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year. The award is given to the undergraduate and graduate students for scholarship, service, and contributions to others, including fellow students, their departments, the food and agricultural industry, and community.

Garner is a senior in agribusiness and food industry management and was named to the Dean’s List. He has served as a Cal Poly Pomona student ambassador, giving campus tours to visitors and representing the university at college fairs and events. He also has served as a missionary last summer to Greece and Germany and has led Bible studies for Cal Poly Pomona Cru.

“I have witnessed him on many occasions exhibiting great leadership qualities such as agenda design, communication skills, time management, and negotiation skills,” a faculty member wrote. “He is always willing to lend a hand for the College of Ag, department or major. He brings new ideas and great enthusiasm to everything he completes.”

John E. Andrews Graduate Student Leader of the Year

Andy Reynaga
Andy Reynaga

Andy Reynaga was named the 2017 John E. Andrews Graduate Student Leader of the Year. The award is given to the undergraduate and graduate students for scholarship, service, and contributions to others, including fellow students, their departments, the food and agricultural industry, and community.

Reynaga is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in agriculture with a sub plan in nutrition and food science who was recently accepted to medical school. As an undergraduate, he worked his way through Cal Poly Pomona while also holding a full-time job as director of dietary services for an Orange County health services company. Reynaga has worked on a number of research studies, tutored and lectured nutrition students, counseled high school athletes and Hispanic women about nutrition, and is a nutrition and dietetic technician, registered.

“He has been a manager in many of his jobs and always seems to be the group leader of any project he is involved with,” a faculty member wrote. “I have noticed both graduate and undergraduate students gravitate to him to ask questions. He usually knows the answers, and if he doesn’t, he looks it up for them.”

Outstanding Staff of the Year

Frances Loya
Frances Loya

Frances Loya, the administrative support coordinator for human nutrition and food science, was chosen for the 2017 Staff of the Year Award. The award is given to a staff member who demonstrates caring, good communication skills, initiative, the ability to assist with the learning process and contributions to a department, the college, or university.

Faculty members and students praised her for her institutional knowledge, the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously, and dedication to completing projects – all “while sending everyone away with a smile.”

“Frances is one of the most organized people that I know. She is always able to help me with my questions and even anticipate problems to avoid them,” one faculty member said. “I have no doubt that our department functions mainly because of her efforts.”

Previous Award Recipients

2015-16 Awardees (read 2016 AGRIcolumn)

Agricultural Achievement Award: Karen Caplan
Alumna of the Year: Tony & Sue Godfrey
Julian A. McPhee Award: Scott Rosas, Foods & Nutrition
John E. Andrews Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year: Brett Timmons, Agricultural Science
John E. Andrews Graduate Student Leader of the Year; Bec McDorman, Agricultural Science, nutrition and food science subplan
Teacher of the Year: Joanne Sohn, Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year: Valerie Mellano, Agribusiness & Food Industry Management/Agricultural Science, Plant Science
Staff of the Year: Tony Espinas, Apparel Merchandising & Management

2014-15 Awardees (read 2015 AGRIcolumn)

Agricultural Achievement Award: Jim Hicks
Alumna of the Year: Teresa Becker, AMM
Julian A. McPhee Award: Michaiah J. Leal, Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Julian A. McPhee Award: Madeleine E. Gross, Foods & Nutrition
John E. Andrews Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year: Aasta Yim, Agribusiness & Food Industry Management
Teacher of the Year: Melissa Hulgreen, Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year: Broc Sandelin, Animal & Veterinary Sciences
Staff of the Year: Sarah DeLaParra, Animal & Veterinary Sciences

2013-14 Awardees (read 2014 AGRInotes)

Provost's Awards for Excellence, Excellence in Service: Dan Hostetler, Plant Sciences
Student Scholar: DawnKylee Klarich, Foods & Nutrition
John E. Andrews Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year: John Bennett, Plant Science
John E. Andrews Graduate Student Leader of the Year: Nanette Ros, Agriculture
Teacher of the Year: Terrance Fujimoto, Plant Science
Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year: Michele Rash, Animal & Veterinary Sciences 
Staff of the Year:
Duncan McKee, Plant Science

2012-13 Awardees (read 2013 AGRIcolumn)

Student Scholar: Rachel Broguiere, Apparel Merchandising & Management
John E. Andrews Student Leader of the Year: Rana Saldano, Foods and Nutrition
Teacher of the Year: Kimberly Miller, Agriculture Science
Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year: Lisa Kessler, Foods & Nutrition
Staff of the Year: Donna Ha, Human Nutrition & Food Science

2011-12 Awardees (read 2012 AGRIcolumn)

Student Scholar: Samantha Hammergren, Animal Health Science and Jessica Moody, Foods and Nutrition 
John E. Andrews Student Leader of the Year: Andy Tuy, Food Science 
Teacher of the Year: Oscar Chavez, Animal Health Science 
Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year: Nancy Merlino, Ag Business Management 
Staff of the Year: Kate Smith, Arabian Horse Center