10 to be celebrated as Distinguished
By TOM CAMPBELL
Malcolm S. DeKryger, MS '83, wasn't even sure where Purdue was on the map when he applied to graduate school in 1981. Now, more than two decades later, he is being honored with a Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, one of the top honors presented annually by the College of Agriculture.
He and nine other honorees will be recognized March 2 during a 2:30 p.m. EST reception and 3:30 p.m. convocation at the Purdue Memorial Union.
"I studied which schools were the best in pigs and animal sciences," said DeKryger, vice president and co–owner of Belstra Milling Co. in DeMotte, Ind. "Purdue was ranked in the top three in each, and when I applied they offered me a research assistantship. Since I had grown up in Michigan, I had almost no idea where Purdue was. I called up my dad and said, 'We have to find out where this place is and what they are all about.'"
The DAA awards have been presented each year since 1992 to honor mid–career Purdue Agriculture graduates who have made significant contributions to their profession or society in general and have a record of outstanding accomplishments, said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture.
"These 10 people represent who we are and what we do so well," Akridge said. "They are businesspeople, farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs working in both the public and private sectors – and they are all leaders. We take great pride in our alumni, and these are 10 of our best."
DeKryger joined Belstra Milling in 1991 as head of business development and sales. Under his direction, Belstra's pig production business has grown from 600 sows to 11,500, producing more than 310,000 breeding and market animals a year.
In addition to DeKryger, the 2012 recipients are:
Larry E. Becker, BS '88, president and chief executive of Becker Landscape Inc. of Indianapolis. Becker and his staff are regular participants in Purdue Agriculture's landscape contracting and management course, affording students the opportunity to be current with industry trends, careers, technologies and equipment.
Kevin J. Cavanaugh, MS '90 and PhD '93, of Atlanta, Ind., director of research, Beck's Hybrids Inc. He was president of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders (2003–04) and was president of the Indiana Seed Trade Association (2002–03). As a member of the Beck's leadership team, Cavanaugh helped the Indiana–based company become the largest independent, family–owned retail seed company in the United States.
F. Howard Halderman, BS '88, of Wabash, Ind., president of Halderman Farm Management Service Inc., a third–generation, Indiana–based farm management and real estate organization that provides management services to more than 650 farms with a market value in excess of $1 billion in the United States, Canada and South America.
Nancy E. Lange, BS '81, of Indianapolis, senior director of human resources, global recruiting and staffing, Eli Lilly and Company. Lange started her career in 1981 as a sales representative for Elanco Agricultural Chemicals, a division of Eli Lilly. She was promoted to her current position in 2010. She earned the Chairman's Ovation Award from Eli Lilly in 2000.
Kenda M. Resler Friend, MS '91, of Indianapolis, global communication leader for Enlist Weed Control System of Dow AgroSciences LLC, a global company with 5,500 employees and annual sales of $4.5 billion. Resler Friend serves on the company's Global Leadership Team, a strategy–setting group of 100 of the company's top leaders.
Del Unger, BS '84, of Carlisle, Ind, owner of Del Unger Farms, a 5,000–acre farm in southwestern Indiana. Unger was chosen as Sullivan County's Outstanding Young Farmer in 1985, the same year Unger Farms hosted 60 Brazilian farmers. He hosted the Indiana Farm Management Tour in 1996 and 2011. Unger judges beef competitions in Indiana and Illinois. He also serves as the superintendent of the Sullivan County 4–H Beef Project.
Gary M. Weber, BS '77 and MS '79, of Severn, Md., president of Bioniche Food Safety–USA, a division of Bioniche Life Sciences Inc., since 2008. Weber has provided leadership to Bioniche's efforts to license and commercialize a vaccine to reduce the shedding of E. coli for cattle in the United States and Canada by working directly with cattle producers and beef processors, Congress, regulatory agencies and the media.
Jeremy Xu, PhD '99, of Shanghai, Asia Pacific business director for DuPont Protection Technologies, one of 13 strategic business units in DuPont with total revenue in excess of $800 million in 2011. Xu and his team of 320 professionals are responsible for business strategies for products such as Kevlar, Nomex and Tyvek in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and 15 other countries.
Liangli (Lucy) Yu, PhD '99, of College Park, Md., professor and acting chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland since 2009. Yu has published 105 research articles and 13 book chapters, holds one U.S. and one European patent, and has three patents pending. Yu, a fellow in the American Chemical Society, has received the Young Scientist Award from both the American Oil Chemists' Society and the American Chemical Society.