Dr. Dale Perritt named Ag Educator of the Year

Dr. Dale Perritt, SFA Agriculture Department chair and professor, works with SFA students. (Photo by Hardy Meredith)
Dr. Dale Perritt, SFA Agriculture Department chair and professor, works with SFA students. (Photo by Hardy Meredith)

NACOGDOCHES, TX - Dr. Dale Perritt will be honored with the 2010 Ag Educator of the Year Award, sponsored by Citizens 1st Bank, Monday, March 29, at the Nacogdoches County Agriculture Awareness and Appreciation Banquet.

"Dr. Perritt is a very deserving candidate for this award," said Chad Gulley, County Extension Agent—Ag/NR for Nacogdoches County. "He has been influential in the lives and careers of Stephen F. Austin State University agriculture students over the years, mine included. He always takes the time to help any student with any situation from enrolling in class to career opportunities.  Nacogdoches and SFA are fortunate to have him."

Perritt grew up in Wood County in Winnsboro, Tex. on the family's dairy farm. Much of his early educational experiences were farm-related and centered around chores that were "character building" in nature. He attended Winnsboro public schools and graduated in 1969. After graduation he enrolled at Tyler Junior College and then transferred to East Texas State University where he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education in 1973. He accepted a secondary agricultural science teaching position with Forney ISD in 1973 and taught high school agriculture there for 6 years. While in Forney, Perritt began graduate school at East Texas State and completed the Master of Science in agriculture in 1976.  In 1979, he returned to East Texas State as an instructor where he remained for a short time before enrolling at Mississippi State University. Perritt completed the doctorate in Agricultural and Extension Education at Mississippi State in 1981.

In the fall of '81, Perritt joined the faculty at SFA as an assistant professor with teaching responsibilities in both agricultural mechanization and agricultural education. He progressed through the ranks and became Department Chair in 1997.

Over the years, he supervised numerous thesis students with research topics ranging from energy efficiency in broiler houses to the learning and leadership styles of high school agriculture students. During his tenure he has supervisor hundreds of student teachers and consequently really never stopped attending class.  He has organized countless workshops and seminars for high school ag science teachers and FFA members. He served as superintendent of the National Agricultural Mechanics Career Development Event in Kansas City and Louisville from 1997 to 2000.  He has also served as president of the Agricultural Consortium of Texas, and currently serves on the advisory board for the American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources. In addition he currently serves as Faculty Athletic Representative for SFA to the Southland Conference and the NCAA.

For his efforts, Perritt has received numerous awards including the Honorary Lone Star FFA Degree, the Honorary American FFA Degree, the Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Education, Outstanding Faculty Award for the Department of Agriculture, the Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Professor Award, and the Brother of the Century Award for his work in establishing an Alpha Gamma Rho chapter at SFA.

Perritt is married to Dr. Mitzi Perritt, professor of Human Sciences at SFA.  They have two sons, Daniel, a recent SFA graduate, and Heath, a senior at Nacogdoches High School.

Perritt gives credit for his success to God's blessings in his life, a family who supports him, parents who taught him the value of hard work, an agriculture teacher who inspired him to teach, an English teacher who demanded perfection, and a football coach who taught him that he could get up and go even when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task.

The Ninth Annual Agriculture and Awareness Banquet is Monday, March 29, at Banita Creek Hall.  Legendary football coach and rancher Gene Stallings is the keynote speaker.  Scholarships will be awarded to students studying or intending to study agriculture, forestry or environmental science at SFA.

Also honored this year are the Jerry Nichols Family for the Farm Family of the Year award, sponsored by Tipton Ford; Albert Thompson for the Pete Smith Agricultural Pioneer award, sponsored by Heritage Land Bank; and Sam B. Hayter Trust for the Agribusiness of the Year award, sponsored by First Bank & Trust East Texas.

The banquet is a cooperative effort of local agencies interested in promoting and honoring agriculture in Nacogdoches County. Local agencies include Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Cooperative Extension Program, Pineywoods RC&D, Stephen F. Austin State University - Agriculture Department and Texas Forest Service.

Banquet tickets are $22 each or $200 per table of eight and are available now at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, 2516 North Street. Businesses are welcome to sponsor tables to provide complimentary admission for youth agriculture groups. Call the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, 560-5533, or go to www.nacogdoches.org for tickets and table reservations.