PRAIRIE VIEW — Hoover Carden will retire on June 30 as administrator of the Cooperative Extension Service at Prairie View A&M University.
“The thing that is most fascinating to me about Extension work is that it is about helping people who have the greatest need,” Carden said.
“We were able to provide information that many folks needed to move into the mainstream of society,” Carden said of his career.
During his years with the Extension Service — 12 years as an agent and 23 as administrator — Carden was instrumental in furthering the agency’s effort, such as getting a new Cooperative Extension building on the Prairie View A&M campus two years ago. During his tenure as administrator, the agency’s budget expanded from $327,000 in 1972 to $3 million currently.
“It has been a dilemma, my giving up Extension, because I could have retired 10 years before now,” he said. “But there were some things that I wanted to get accomplished. I wanted a ‘state of the art’ facility for Prairie View A&M.”
Carden also initiated programs to stem the tide of declining land ownership by African Americans. He spearheaded improvements at the Extension youth camp in Huntsville, which teaches leadership and citizenship skills. It now accommodates more than 200 young people.
Because of his concern about such issues as crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and increasing numbers of gangs, Carden developed cooperative health initiatives which provide information and programs geared to inner-city problems.
Cooperative Extension at Prairie View will continue to focus on serving the needs of inner-city youth, and especially young, black males, in order to decrease the influence of drugs and gangs, he said.
After a vacation, Carden plans to continue to live in the Prairie View community.