The Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Christopher Barron, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and Clayton Elbel, Department of Agricultural Economics, were recognized for their achievements as senior students during the LAUNCH recognition ceremony hosted by Texas A&M University on May 8.

Barron and Elbel were selected from among 14 senior student nominees from across the university to receive the Brown-Rudder Award. Presented to no more than two Aggies yearly, the award recognizes graduating seniors who exemplify leadership, patriotism, fortitude, courage and humility.

“We are extremely proud that Christopher and Clayton received this prestigious award. From environmental science, genetics and statistics to agricultural economics and industrial trade, their academic journeys demonstrate the wide breadth of what students can experience in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” said Jeffrey W. Savell, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Their exceptional accomplishments and selfless service demonstrate a commitment to excellence, integrity and societal betterment that Gen. Earl Rudder himself would commend.”

The Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award was established through a gift from the Brown Foundation of Houston. Award winners must demonstrate a willingness to uphold the Texas A&M Core Values embodied by James Earl Rudder, a World War II hero and past Texas A&M president.

Brown-Rudder Award recipient Christopher Barron - smiling male student in maroon Texas A&M logoed shirt
Christopher Barron was named a recipient of the prestigious Brown-Rudder Award at a Texas A&M LAUNCH ceremony on May 8. (Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Christopher Barron

Barron is a double major, double minor student, and will receive bachelor’s degrees in plant and environmental science-crop emphasis and in biochemistry, with minors in genetics and statistics, when he graduates this weekend.

He is a National Merit Scholar and President’s Endowed Scholar, and recipient of numerous scholarships, including the National Goldwater Scholarship, National Astronaut Scholarship and the Gathright Dean’s Excellence Award for the College.

His nomination stated: Chris has established himself as an active leader in his department, university and national organizations, serving as the president of the Students of Agronomy Soils and Environmental Sciences, a national student organization.

Barron is also a multiyear member of the Maroon and White Leadership Society and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Ambassadors, where he represents the College to new and prospective students, donors and former students.

Brown-Rudder Award recipient Clayton Elbel - smiling male student in maroon Texas A&M logoed shirt
Clayton Elbel was named a recipient of the Brown-Rudder Award at a Texas A&M LAUNCH ceremony on May 8. (Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Clayton Elbel

Elbel is completing a five-year dual agricultural economics and Master of Public Service Administration degree program with a Certificate in International Trade and Agriculture and a minor in business.

He has served as chair of the Student Affairs Fee Advisory Board and as executive vice president of business of the Memorial Student Center. He has also held leadership roles in organizations such as the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs, the College’s Student Council and Ambassador Program, the Texas A&M Horse Judging Team and Titans of Investing.

Elbel is a recipient of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation and Texas Farm Bureau S. M. True Scholarships. At the university level, he received the Texas A&M University Buck Weirus Spirit Award and the Texas A&M University Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior Award.

He was also selected for the Presidential Management Fellowship, a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a semifinalist for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship and was the university’s nominee for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships.

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