A farewell ceremony for Dean Weldon Sleight and Associate Professor David Smith is scheduled Dec. 8 at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.
The event will be at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center on NCTA's campus.
Sleight arrived at NCTA in 2006 and led the college through a million dollar capital campaign and a plan to develop the campus through new construction and revitalization. Under his leadership, the college gained a student union, Education Center, two new residence halls and a large addition to the Veterinary Technology Complex that includes the new Dr. Walter Long Veterinary Technology Teaching Clinic designed to help students gain experience in a working animal clinic while enrolled at the college. These projects have brought state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and facilities, as well as modernized entertainment and living spaces, to the college.
Smith, who is retiring after 39 years, was the first NCTA faculty member to use computer simulation in the classroom. He used a "dumb terminal" connected by modem to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln mainframe to run a cow game and perform ration balancing. He also wrote a computer program to calculate range conditions that was available nationally over the AgNet system, and he developed a computer program on which to keep the college's cattle records that was later made available to producers as a mail-in records system through Farmland Industries.
Some of his other accomplishments include offering the college's first artificial insemination class, designing the college's AI teaching facility, and starting the first collegiate-level cattlemen's organization to be recognized by the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association.
Smith was named the Young Teacher of the Year (1978) and Post Secondary Teacher of the Year (1982) by the Nebraska Vocational Teachers Association. He received the Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence and the NCTA Teacher of the Year Award in 2006.
Sleight and Smith worked together to implement several new programs at NCTA aimed at revitalizing and preserving rural America through education and entrepreneurship. Programs such as the nationally recognized 100 Cow Advantage program and 100 Acre Advantage program were created to help young men and women become owners of agriculture operations through attainment of a college education, the development of a partnership and business plan, and low-interest loans.
These achievements and others have put NCTA on a path to future growth.
Attendees are encouraged to RSVP and submit their "well wishes" at the NCTA website.