Beck and Fisher recognized for generosity and service

Sonny Beck and Jack Fisher

Congratulations to Sonny Beck and Jack Fisher, who recently received awards at the 2016 National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association’s (NAADA) Annual Conference.

At an awards banquet held in Asheville, N. C., approximately 250 people saw both donors recognized for their continual support of The Ohio State University and of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Jack is the first of our college’s alumni to receive NAADA’s Volunteer Service Award and Sonny received the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist award.

The Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals who have given their time to further the goals of their institutions, and have demonstrated leadership and organizational skills to inspire and encourage others to further the success of their alma mater’s agriculture and alumni programs.

For nearly 50 years, Jack has served Ohio State in almost every manner possible. Jack has dedicated his time, energy and talents to advocate for Ohio State students and programs. Jack is a former member of Ohio State’s Board of Trustees, where he engaged in critical dialogue about the future of the college. In his current role as co-chair for the But for Ohio State campaign, he is leading the college in $150 million fundraising efforts. He was instrumental in advocating for construction of the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, and his commitment to engage the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation membership in raising funds and awareness for the importance of the facility played a significant role in the project’s overall success. 

Jack has been recognized for his loyal support through membership of Ohio State's President’s Club and Department of Animal Science Hall of Fame. Jack was awarded the college’s Distinguished Service Award and the Dan L. Heinlen Award in 2015. He holds the Ohio FFA Honorary State Farmer Degree and was named to the National FFA Honorary American Farmer Degree in 2005.

Along with his wife, Judy, Jack has given not only of his talent and time, but has also established an endowment in the college to support a minimum of three students annually who are studying agriculture at Ohio State.

Sonny Beck, benefactor of two land-grant institutions – Ohio State and Purdue University -- was recognized with the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist award.

The award recognizes those with a record of sustained giving to support agriculture, agricultural higher education, Cooperative Extension, or land grant universities. This award also recognizes individuals for their role as an advocate for agriculture and natural resources and for their philanthropy in community organizations, religious institutions, art, environment and social services.

Throughout his life, Sonny Beck has embodied service, integrity, and philanthropy.  The Beck family founded Beck’s Hybrids in Hamilton County, IN in 1937.  Over the next 79 years they transformed the company into the largest family-owned seed company in the United States. Beck’s Hybrids Inc. now has 13 locations and its products can be found in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Tennessee.  An alumnus of Purdue University, Sonny joined Beck’s in 1964. In keeping with the spirit of the Land Grant philosophy, he started the Beck’s Practical Farm Research Program.  The mission of this program is to add profitability to the farming industry through sharing the results of agronomic research conducted at Beck’s locations.  The PFR program is unique in the industry and is a testament to Sonny’s commitment to serve the farming community through the sharing of knowledge.

At Ohio State, Sonny and the Beck family made a major gift to the college’s Field to Faucet water quality initiative in 2015.  This gift made possible a large scale research project that seeks solutions to the pressing water quality problems that the agricultural community currently faces.  This gift also makes Beck’s one of the first presenting sponsors of the university’s Farm Science Review event.

Sonny is not only an astute businessman and generous philanthropist, but also an advocate for agriculture and agricultural higher education.  

NAADA is an organization with more than 350 professionals from around the country committed to the advancement of agricultural and related sciences at more than 40 higher education institutions

NAADA provides education, support and recognition for individuals dedicated to expanding resources for land-grant and other colleges of agricultural sciences and related programs.