MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Announces 2024 ANR Award Recipients

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

On Friday, March 1, the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) hosted the annual ANR Awards program and recognized 15 leaders in agriculture and natural resources for their distinguished accomplishments and service.

“The ANR Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the impact, achievements and loyal service of members of our college community,” said CANR Dean Kelly Millenbah, Ph.D. “While each of our 2024 award recipients has forged their own distinct path, they all have used their careers to initiate positive change, accelerate new knowledge and advance the missions of Michigan State University and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.”

Hosted each year during ANR Week, the ANR Awards honor outstanding individuals for their contributions to MSU, CANR, agriculture and natural resources in the state of Michigan and around the world. The 2024 ANR Awards featured the presentation of the Dean’s Pinnacle of Excellence Awards, CANR Distinguished Service Awards and the CANR Alumni Association Awards.

A complete list of the 2024 award winners and detailed biographies about each recipient can be found here.


This award is presented to alumni who have obtained the pinnacle of achievement in their field and brought distinction to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Created in 2023, this award is the highest accolade awarded by the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

2024 recipients:

Dr. Gary Seevers – An accomplished economist and financial market specialist, Seevers had a distinguished career working for MSU Extension, on Wall Street and in the White House.

Dr. Rohini Mulchandani – A retired food scientist and product developer for Abbott Laboratories and an accomplished entrepreneur.


This award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources industries and high standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the CANR. These recipients demonstrate a commitment to MSU and CANR by continuing outstanding volunteerism and leadership on a local, state, national or international level.

2024 recipients:

Maury Kaercher – Retired MSU Extension director and livestock agent for St. Joseph County, Michigan.

Theresa Sowry – The executive manager and CEO of the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), in Hoedspruit, South Africa.

Sally Stuby – Retired regional director for MSU Extension’s Southwest Region and Michigan 4-H Foundation Trustee.


Outstanding Alumni Award: This award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest level of professional accomplishments, and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character.

2024 recipients:

Dr. Tom Ryan, Ph.D. – Global Taste Advisor at Jollibee Foods Corporation, co-founder of Smashburger and Tom’s Watch Bar

Dr. William Thatcher, Ph.D. – Professor emeritus at the University of Florida and one of the world’s leading authorities on bovine reproduction.

Alumni Service Award: This award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service to MSU, the CANR or meritorious public service on a local, state, national or international level.

2024 recipients:

Dr. Donald Claude (D.C.) Coston, Ph.D. – Retired President of Dickinson State University and an accomplished higher education administrator.

Dr. Alison Steiber, Ph.D. – Chief Science Officer for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest food and nutrition organization.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alumni Award: This award recognizes alumni for their professional accomplishments, service and contributions in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion to the CANR, their field and community.

2024 recipient:

Alexis Hermiz – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at Carhartt.

Honorary Alumni Award: This award is given to someone who has made a distinctive contribution to the CANR on a state, national or international level; has relieved the suffering of disadvantaged people; or contributed to any unique program that benefits humankind.

2024 recipients:

Gary Whelan – Retired program manager for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fish Health Program and an adjunct professor in the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Distinguished Faculty Award: This award recognizes faculty members who have brought distinction to the CANR through teaching, research and outreach, as well as providing leadership that has helped students, faculty members and others reach their potential for excellence.

2024 recipients:

Dr. Wei Liao, Ph.D. – A professor and the director of MSU Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC) at the department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering.

Dr. Dale Rozeboom, Ph.D. – A professor emeritus in the MSU Department of Animal Science.

Outstanding Up and Coming Alumni Award: This award honors individuals who have distinguished themselves by obtaining a high level of professional accomplishment and who possess high standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the CANR within 15 years of graduation.

2024 recipients:

Austin Liu – Senior packaging engineer at Abbott promoting patient safety through healthcare packaging and microbiological quality.

Sarah Quackenbush – Sales manager at North Bay Produce, one of the leading berry and apple companies in the world.

This story was originally published by College of Agriculture & Natural Resources.

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