Consider Hearing A Truly Distinguished NDSU Ag Alumnus Today At Barry Hall

I’m going to go over this afternoon and listen to Arlen Leholm, the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources at North Dakota State University. He’s scheduled to present a seminar today at 3 p.m. in Barry Hall 368 in Fargo. It’s free and open to the public. I don’t know what he’ll talk about but I strongly believe it’ll be worth the time.

The NDSU Distinguished Alumni Award Program is sponsored by each of the colleges at NDSU and recognizes accomplishments of outstanding alumni and educates students by introducing them to successful alumni in their respective fields of study. The distinguished alumni will share career-related experiences and knowledge as they give presentations to the NDSU community.

Leholm is the executive director of the North Central Regional Association of Agricultural Experiment Stations – one of four regional associations in the U.S. with responsibility of facilitating cooperation of regional and national research.

He has conducted research on high-performing teams in the private and public sectors. In 2006, Michigan State University Press published Leholm’s book, “Increasing the Odds for High Performance Teams – Lessons Learned,” co-written with Raymond Vlasin. He has helped public universities across the U.S. build research/Extension teams and private-sector firms establish cross-functional teams at the top of their organizations.

Leholm was dean and director of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, and director and associate director of Michigan State University Extension. He served in these roles a total of 12 years with responsibility for more than 1,000 faculty and staff in each state.

Leholm was a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University and co-director of the university’s Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources. As a consultant to the World Bank, his work had an influence on improvement of Extension, research and client-linked services in India and other Asian countries.

He has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, including serving as program leader for community, natural resources and economic development in the University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Extension Service. Earlier he served as director of the Center for Rural Revitalization and as Extension specialist in farm and financial management for NDSU Extension Service. He established North Dakota’s farm financial analyst program to deal with the farm crisis in the 1980s.

His background includes ownership and operation of a large multi-enterprise farm. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NDSU and his doctorate from the University of Nebraska, all in agricultural economics.

I remember Arlen from the 1980s in Fargo, when he was dealing with farm credit crisis response work for the Extension Service. He’s always been kind and very helpful to anyone I’ve known who’s dealt with him — an apt recipient of the distinguished alumnus award, in one scribe’s humble opinion.