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Professional group recognizes MSU ag communications head
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Tom Knecht, head of the Mississippi State University Office of Agricultural Communications, recently received the highest award given by the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences.
The Professional Award was presented to Knecht for his excellence and professionalism as an agricultural communicator. The award is presented annually to an individual with many achievements in the field and strong participation in and support of the organization. ACE is an international organization of university-based communication and information technology professionals who work in areas including the environment, natural resources and agriculture, fiber and food, family and youth, and land use and community development.
“For 34 years, Tom has brought his savvy to media production and management in three land-grant institutions,” said Ned Browning, OAC print media leader. “Tom’s leadership has helped define 21st century agricultural communications.”
Knecht earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a doctorate in adult and community college education from North Carolina State University.
Before Knecht joined MSU in 1998, he worked for the NCSU Department of Agricultural Communications from 1985 to 1998 and was department head for two years. He also served the University of Illinois from 1974 until 1985.
Knecht, a past-president of ACE, spearheaded the creation of the ACE finance committee, and he serves as the first executive director of the ACE Leadership Institute.
He has received many awards throughout his career, including the Distinguished Technical Communications Award from the Society for Technical Communication, North Carolina chapter; the ACE Superior Award and Excellence Award; and the Blue Ribbon award from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.
Knecht is the fourth professional from MSU to be honored with this award. Others before him were Ralph Ballew, former head of Extension Information Services for the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, in 1989; Keith Remy, former head of the editorial department for the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, in 1995; and Barry Jones, former news coordinator for Extension Information Services for the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, in 2001.
Writer: Courtney Coufal