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Ag Endowment Recognizes Professor’s Dedication To FFA

Nov. 17, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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Retired SHSU ag professor Herb Schumann has been recognized for his many years of service to the state's FFA programs with a scholarship endowment named in his honor.

An endowment to honor a retired professor who spent many years authoring leadership development materials used in FFA contests throughout the state has been established at Sam Houston State University.

The Dr. Herb Schumann Leadership Endowment for Student Teachers in Agriculture will provide scholarships each semester for students beginning the 12-week field experience at a mentoring school.

Doug Ullrich, Jr., and Dwayne Pavelock, two current agricultural sciences faculty members who have taken the responsibility for writing the materials for FFA competitions since Schumann retired as professor of vocational education, were instrumental in creating the endowment.

Ullrich began writing leadership materials in 1996 and has exclusively developed FFA quizzes since 2001. Pavelock began authoring parliamentary procedure materials for the chapter conducting events in 2001.

“Dr. Schumann served for 12 years as the chairman of the State FFA Leadership Contests, which are held at SHSU,” said Ullrich. “He retired in 1996, yet continued on a half-time basis until his full retirement in 2001.

“During his last semester at SHSU, a group of collegiate FFA students wanted to do something in his honor,” Ullrich said. “They came up with the idea of starting a scholarship endowment.”

However, with only $500, the group was far short of the amount needed to establish an endowment that would produce enough interest income to provide meaningful scholarships. That’s when Ullrich and Pavelock stepped up.

When Pavelock came to SHSU, he took an interest in the project and gave it some “heart and soul,” according to Ullrich.

“We’ve merged our efforts, and we sell the materials on a CD-ROM, with all the proceeds dedicated to the endowment,” said Pavelock. “One of the neat things about the sale of the CD is the people who buy it use it for actual instructional material in the classroom. It’s not just for contest preparation; it’s for teaching parliamentary procedure, FFA history, agricultural education history—it’s an overview of agriculture facts and history. That’s something we are really proud of.”

The 10th edition of the CD-ROM is coming out this year. Ullrich and Pavelock estimated that almost 1,000 agricultural education programs use the materials, and up to 1,500 teachers use it to supplement their teaching.

“We’ve tried to put a number to how many kids see this material every year, and it’s probably in the tens of thousands,” Pavelock said. “SHSU is prominently indicated on these materials, so we hope the marketing element for the university is present as well.”

The greatest amount of funds comes from selling event materials for the current year. In early November, 56 FFA districts across the state hold contests. The top two teams advance to the area competition, and 10 area events are held in mid-November. The top two teams in each area compete at the state level in December at SHSU.

Pavelock and Ullrich write materials for almost 40 of the district events, all 10 area events, and the state event. In all, they volunteer approximately 200 hours each year to author parliamentary procedure problems and FFA quizzes.

Once enough money had been raised to fund an endowment, they waited a few more years to make sure enough income was available to provide meaningful scholarships for student teachers.

This summer, when the Department of Agricultural and Industrial Sciences alumni met in Arlington for their annual banquet and fundraiser in conjunction with the state ag teacher conference, the establishment of the endowment was officially announced.

“We designated the scholarships specifically for student teachers,” said Ullrich, “because the semester in which they do their student teaching is tough. They can’t work very much because of their schedules, and by the nature of what they teach, they have to put in a lot of time on weekends and after school.”

It’s also a tribute to Schumann, who was responsible for preparing more than 700 students to become certified teachers of vocational agriculture and agricultural science.

The endowment was funded with an initial contribution of $40,000.

“We plan to put $5,000 to $6,000 aside each year for the endowment, with the hope that we can add considerably more,” Ullrich said.

Since 1931, the SHSU FFA Chapter has hosted and conducted leadership contests for high school FFA members. Each year, approximately 1,200 FFA members, advisers, parents, and other guests come to SHSU for the state FFA leadership development events.

For more information about the scholarships, contact Dwayne Pavelock at agr_dxp@shsu.edu or Doug Ullrich at agr_dru@shsu.edu.

 

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