Contact: Angel Futrell, 979-458-9761, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION — The Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences honored this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Alumni Award and the Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award at the Legacy and Leadership Banquet on Oct. 10 in College Station.
The Outstanding Alumni Award winners are: Leroy Shafer ’67, Dr. Mark Thallman ’81, and Walt Dabney ’69. The Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award winners are: Jamie Creacy ’03, Allison Smith ’02 and Dr. Thomas Bernhardt ’01.
The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes and honors graduates of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for their outstanding leadership and significant contributions in agriculture, natural resources, life sciences or related areas.
Shafer earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from Texas A&M and continued his education with a master’s degree in technical journalism from Iowa State University. Shafer, who recently retired, has worked with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo since 1973 where he worked his way up to vice president and chief operating officer. During his time there, he developed a student intern program to benefit college students and helped the livestock show and rodeo provide $400 million in scholarships to Texas students.
Thallman received his bachelor’s in animal science, master’s in animal breeding and doctorate in genetics, all at Texas A&M. Currently, Thallman is a geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska. In this role, he has provided leadership of the Germplasm Evaluation Project, which is generally recognized worldwide as the most comprehensive beef breed evaluation conducted, having influenced the utilization of beef breeds in the U.S. and global beef industries.
Dabney earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation and parks at Texas A&M. Upon graduation, he spent the next 30 years ascending through the ranks of the National Park Service before being recruited back to Texas as director of state parks for the last 10 years of his career. Since retiring, Dabney has engaged students at Texas A&M through instructing field courses for the past four years. He also continues to work with state and federal agencies to train ranger staff and develop programs.
The Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award honors College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduates who graduated 15 years ago or less and have shown outstanding leadership and noteworthy contributions in career, public service and/or volunteer activities.
Creacy earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in recreation, park and tourism sciences from Texas A&M. Her degrees served as preparation to lead recreation and conservation in Texas, currently serving as superintendent of the Lost Pines State Park Complex and as an active state police officer and wildland firefighter. During her time leading one of the state parks in Texas, Creacy has ensured the success in accomplishing recovery goals for the Bastrop County Complex Fire, earning her the 2014 Stars in Our Parks Award. Additionally, Creacy has represented Texas state parks in roles that include the Governor’s State Agency Council member and the Texas A&M Recreation Park and Tourism Sciences Advisory Council.
Smith graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in floriculture. Upon graduation, Smith was chosen to serve as an Aggie intern for the office of State Rep. David Swinford, Dumas. After one session, she was promoted to chief of staff along with serving as the committee clerk for the House Committee on State Affairs. Besides her work in legislature, Smith has maintained a small floral business and volunteers with the Texas State Fair and Rodeo. Smith also serves as the vice chair for the College of Agriculture Development Council.
Bernhardt obtained his doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M in 2001. Bernhardt went on to work at Case Western, where he discovered how bacteria accomplish cell division without cutting through the DNA that occupies most of the cell. In 2007, this postdoctoral work, combined with his graduate record, led to numerous faculty job offers, including the one he accepted from the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School. Since then, he won a prestigious international Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.