Annual Legacy and Leadership Banquet brings together alumni, donors and scholarship recipients to celebrate success
Six alumni from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences received awards for their hard work and dedication following their time at Texas A&M University during a Nov. 15 ceremony held at the Brazos County Expo Center in Bryan.
Former students gathered to receive some of the highest awards given by the college, recognizing both outstanding career and early career accomplishments in leadership and public service activities.
“Through the accomplishments and outstanding service of those recognized here today, it is clear that the former students of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are helping us attain our goals to improve health, economies and our environment,” said Patrick Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “Their contributions to society and selfless service bring great honor to the college. We are proud to have these former students as members of our family.”
Outstanding Early Career Alumni
The Outstanding Early Career Alumni Award recognizes individuals who have graduated in the last 15 years. These outstanding former students have made significant contributions early in their career, or through public service and/or volunteer activities and possess the highest standards of integrity and character, bringing honor to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M.
Jenny Cearley Sanders ’04
Sanders advocates for the importance of agriculture, land stewardship and natural resources conservation at the local, state and national levels and serves as the outreach and communications manager for the Texas Agricultural Land Trust.
Sanders became interested in conservation after she graduated from high school and joined Texas A&M as a research technician. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in rangeland ecology and management and a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences, both from Texas A&M. After graduation, she served in several conservation-related roles at Texas Wildlife Association, Temple Ranch and T.L.L. Temple Foundation before joining Texas Agricultural Land Trust in 2017.
Among Sanders’ accomplishments was creating the outreach program during her time at Temple Ranch, allowing teens and adults to see the native and agricultural lands they had lived next to but never visited. The program was so successful that Sanders and the Temple Ranch team were awarded the national-level 2011 Leopold Conservation Award from Sand County Foundation for excellence in wildlife habitat conservation, research, outreach and education. In 2007, she and the team also earned the Lone Star Land Steward Award from Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Elizabeth Ann Borchers ’08
Borchers serves as the floral manager of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. She has designed, created and installed floral arrangements that have transformed and elevated settings from staff parties to weddings to holiday celebrations.
Borchers’ achievements in floral design began when she was a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. One nominator says that from the first week of classes, Borchers seemed to realize she had found her calling. She received an award for her dried flower arrangement at a symposium of the American Institute of Floral Design the first year she entered, and went on to lead the institute’s Texas A&M student chapter. She was also selected as a student to create permanent silk floral arrangements for the George Bush Library and Museum’s White House state dinner display.
After graduation, she was hired by Dr. Delphinium Designs and Events, a high-end floral studio in Dallas, where she worked her way up from custom order arranger to event production manager and aided in Dr. Delphiniums selection as national Florist of the Year and Dallas’s Best Florist. From Dr. Delphinium, Borchers moved to a floral design management position at the historic Biltmore Estate. She now manages a large team in creating floral displays for all events and décor at the estate, which allows visitors from around the world to see the Gilded Age mansion as it appeared in George Vanderbilt’s lifetime.
Zachary Joseph Rambo, Ph.D., ’10
Rambo, Ph.D., oversees global research and technical sales as the global swine team research leader at Zinpro Corporation. A gifted teacher, Rambo works to bring out the best in his team members.
He also gives back to the industry and scientific community through service to professional societies. He has received many awards, including the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Department of Animal Science and the NACTA Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from Purdue University.
Rambo earned a doctorate in swine nutrition from Purdue and a bachelor’s and a master’s in animal science from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M. At Texas A&M, Rambo excelled at livestock judging, which relies on critical thinking, decision making and communication skills. Thanks in part to his efforts, the livestock judging team won each of the 13 national contests in 2006. Rambo’s livestock judging success, leadership, community service and GPA earned him the title of Livestock Judging Team All American as well as the Senior Merit Award, the College’s highest honor for undergraduates.
As a graduate student at Texas A&M, he coached the livestock judging team and was named National Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009 by the National Senior College Coaches Association. Before his time at Texas A&M, Rambo belonged to 4-H and FFA programs and owned a swine herd. He was a member of a national champion FFA livestock judging team and president of the Agricultural Science Club at San Joaquin Delta Community College.
The outstanding alumni award recognizes those graduates who distinguish themselves by reaching a significant level of accomplishment in their careers and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character, which bring honor to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M.
Roger Q. Jake Landers, Ph.D., ’54
Seen as the quintessential land steward by his supporters, Landers remains highly active in range management at age 87, following 57 years of impactful research, teaching, outreach and mentorship. In 2016, he received the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Range Management — one of his many honors and awards.
Landers graduated from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in 1954 and a master’s degree in 1955, both in range management and forestry. During this time he helped create an annual, week-long camp on grazing management for high school students.
After college, he served two years as an officer in the U.S. Army, then earned a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of California, Berkeley. Landers then spent 17 years at Iowa State University as a faculty member, during which he served as president of the Nature Conservancy in Iowa and as director of the Iowa Academy of Sciences.
His research led to more economical and aesthetic management of Iowa’s interstate highway roadsides, which is still practiced today. In 1979, Landers joined the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as the range specialist at San Angelo. He also became director of the annual camp he helped create during college: the Youth Range Workshop. This year marks Landers’ 40th year as director of the camp, which has welcomed more than 2,000 teens and served as a model in other states.
Landers’ respect for the land extends to the way he maintains his own family’s ranch in Menard County. The ranch is a showplace of brush management, proper grazing practices and care for wildlife. Landers welcomes other ranchers and students of the Youth Range Workshop to the ranch on educational tours. In 2015, he was voted Menard County Citizen of the Year in recognition of his contributions and leadership.
Terry A. Howell Sr., Ph.D., ’69
Howell has had a long and prominent career in irrigation water management and has distinguished himself internationally as an engineer, a mentor and a leader.
Howell studied agricultural engineering at Texas A&M, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1969, master’s degree in 1970 and doctorate in 1974. After graduation, he held academic positions with Texas A&M, New Mexico State University and the University of Nebraska. He also worked with U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service for 34 years as an engineer, administrator and finally acting director of the Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, CPRL, at Bushland. He has authored more than 350 publications.
Among Howell’s achievements was the implementation of accurate weighing lysimeters, now being duplicated by research groups around the world. In Texas, Howell’s leadership in developing irrigation weather networks and automated weather stations allowed Panhandle producers to accurately schedule irrigation and conserve water and energy while sustaining production. In the northern Texas High Plains, this technology saved more than 20 billion gallons of water and reduced pumping costs by more than $10 million annually.
Nominators credit Howell with extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas and other states. In 2017, his name was added to the Agricultural Research Service, ARS, Science Hall of Fame for “innovative and impactful scientific contributions to our nation and the world.”
Murray H. Edwards ’73
Edwards has a long history of success in agriculture that began growing up on a ranch in Clyde. While in high school, he became the Texas State FFA president. While at Texas A&M, he was active in student government, served as president of the Agricultural Economics Club, and won the American Agricultural Economics Association Undergraduate Speech Contest. Edwards earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1973 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1975.
After graduation, Edwards began an irrigation company in California. In 1981, he moved back to Texas and acquired a majority interest in Alderman Cave Feeds in Winters, and over the next two decades grew the company into a large, multimillion-dollar business with operations in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
In 1994, he joined Cape & Son, a small Texas-based cottonseed trading company. There, he helped the company develop into a premier commodity supplier throughout the U.S., with operations in trading, grain elevators, warehouses and a large railroad unit train terminal.
Edwards actively participates in Texas A&M Rural Entrepreneurship Program and often serves as a mentor to students. In addition, he supports numerous AgriLife Extension activities including the Master Marketer Program, Tomorrow’s Top Agricultural Producer Program and The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers.
His professional accomplishments, charitable contributions and selfless service to his community illustrate a genuine life of achievement, leadership and service to others.