2016-17 Board of Trustees Election Results

Michigan 4-H Foundation

Michigan 4-H Foundation board of trustees elections were held at the Oct. 7 Michigan 4-H Foundation Annual Membership Meeting.
Trustees are volunteers who serve as community advocates for 4-H and lead and manage the operations of the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

Re-elected to three-year terms on the board were: John D. Hatfield, of Midland, Harmony L. Nowlin, of Elwell, and Douglas E. Lewis, of Milan.

New trustees elected were: Thomas L. Bosserd, of Plymouth, and Emily E. Kittendorf, of Milan.

Thomas L. Bosserd

Thomas L. Bosserd

Bosserd was elected to a three-year term in April and confirmed by the membership in October. He serves clients in Michigan as an area representative for Haldermans Real Estate and Farm Management Services where he has served Halderman clients since 2001 in real estate, farm management and appraisals services. Prior to joining Halderman’s, Bosserd worked as a loan officer and appraiser for over 19 years with GreenStone Farm Credit Services. He has been a certified general appraiser in Michigan since 1994. He is a member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and is a former president of the Michigan chapter. A Calhoun County 4-H alumnus, Bosserd was raised on a dairy farm and hold a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University (MSU) and a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, both in business administration.

Emily E. Kittendorf

Emily E. Kittendorf

Kittendorf fills one of three positions on the board reserved for trustees between the ages of 16 and 22. She is a Michigan State University student pursuing a degree in animal science with a swine specialization and minors in international agriculture and sustainable agriculture. She is also in the MSU Academic Scholars Program. Kittendorf has been a Monroe County 4-H member since 2005 involved with swine, poultry and rabbit projects. She served as president of the Junior Livestock Association from 2013-15. She currently serves as a member of the State 4-H Youth Leadership Council and as vice president of the MSU Animal Science Undergraduate Research Student Association where she volunteers for the Ingham County Animal Control Shelter and assists with research analyzing the relationship between fiber and constipation in gestating sows. She also is employed by the Matthes Evergreen Tree Farm and is a sales representative for the Wie
lfaert Farm and Greenhouse.

Trustees retiring from the board were also recognized Oct. 7 for their service to 4-H: Ronald H. Schoen, of Okemos, and Joseph T.W. Buis, of South Lyon.

Also retiring from the board Dec. 31 is Diana (Dee) L. Miller, of Kalkaska, who serves as the appointed representative of the Michigan Council of Extension Associations (MCEA) on the board.

Sheila Urban Smith

Sheila Urban Smith

Sheila Urban Smith, of Williamston, will assume the MCEA board position Jan. 1, 2017. Smith is a 4-H program leader with the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute. Smith serves as a member of the 4-H Life Skills work team and served as the county staff representative on the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s board development committee from 2005-2016. She has served in a variety of MSU Extension and 4-H leadership roles at the state and national levels including NAE4-HA committee chair from 2013-16, MAE4-HYS president in 2011 and a current Michigan Council of Extension Agents (MCEA) board member. She also is a member of the Michigan Afterschool Partnership, served as the NAE4-HA 50th Anniversary Committee chair in 1996 and led the external events sub-committee for the Michigan 4-H Foundation 4-H Centennial Celebration Task Force in 2002. Smith is active in her local community with the Williamston Schools Foundation, Williamston Soccer Boosters and as a member of the Faith Lutheran Church of Okemos.

Ronald Hendrick

Ronald Hendrick

Additionally, Ronald L. Hendrick, of East Lansing, joined the board as a permanent trustee as the dean of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources effective July 1, 2016. He succeeded Fred L. Poston, who retired last December. Previously, Hendrick served as interim vice president for agricultural administration and interim dean for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science at The Ohio State University. Hendrick served OSU since 2013 in a variety of roles, including as senior associate dean and director of the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Prior to that, he was associate dean for academic affairs in the D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. He also was graduate program coordinator for UGA’s School of Forestry. Hendrick earned his bachelor and doctoral degrees from MSU in forestry and forest ecology.

 

Kennedy DeFrancesco

Alger County Michigan 4-H alumna Kennedy DeFrancesco participated in many state and national 4-H events during her years in 4-H. However, 4-H Capitol Experience was most life-changing, igniting plans for a political science degree and a career in law.

Kennedy DeFrancesco
Kennedy DeFrancesco, Alger County 4-H alumna

Alger County 4-H alumna Kennedy DeFrancesco has served as a Michigan 4-H Foundation youth trustee since January 2020, giving her time as a means of giving back to a program she says gave her so much. As a former member of Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program, she participated in Alger County’s Munising 4-H Club for eight years in the 4-H project areas of crafts, sewing, scrapbooking, leadership, civic engagement and community service. Through her experiences with 4-H, she developed critical life skills and found a passion for a career path that she is actively pursuing today.

“I am very fortunate that I was able to be involved in 4-H,” DeFrancesco said. “4-H programs create situations in which our youth can be inspired for their futures and provides them the motivation that they have the ability to make a difference.”

Her 4-H experience gave her the courage to stand up for what she believes in and provided her with the skills to be a good and effective leader. DeFrancesco also met people with shared interests who became lifelong friends.

”4-H impacted my life in more ways than I can say. I would not be the person I am today if I had not had the 4-H experience in my life,” she added. “4-H guided me down the path I needed to pursue to achieve my goals.”

According to DeFrancesco, one of the greatest life lessons she learned in 4-H was the importance of community and leadership. 4-H was also one of the first places she felt fully accepted and surrounded by people that genuinely supported her.

“Being able to have the courage to take charge and not be afraid to speak up for what I believed in was instilled in every 4-H member. Through this leadership and sense of a community, I was able to become my own individual and discover different things that interested me, and it is still something I strive for today,” she said.

DeFrancesco worked to develop her leadership skills through statewide events such as 4-H Exploration Days4-H Capitol Experience, the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council, the Michigan 4-H Youth Leadership and Global Citizen Spectacular, as well as national events like 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus and National 4-H Congress.

“Although I have a countless number of amazing 4-H memories, I would have to say my ultimate favorite would be attending National 4-H Congress. This event was organized so beautifully and was so incredibly fun. All the people in the Michigan group were immediately fast friends, the adult chaperones were the coolest, nicest people. Everything I was able to experience during that event was so fun and educational. I am so grateful that I was able to have such an amazing experience at this particular event. I would encourage any eligible 4-H member to go if they have the opportunity!”

However, DeFrancesco says that 4-H Capitol Experience is the event that ultimately helped her find her career choice. 4-H Capitol Experience is an annual conference that helps prepare youth for active citizenship by focusing on civic engagement and public policy. DeFrancesco was excited that she was able to attend a real-life Supreme Court hearing, watch the proceedings of the Senate or House of Representatives, learn to write bills, and meet with real politicians to talk about the validity of the bills. She also met Gov. Whitmer (a senator at the time) who signed the mock bill presented by 4-H’ers at the event.

“4-H was responsible for my chosen path for my education and career. I attended lots of awesome 4-H events around the United States and had the absolute best time at each one of them, but it wasn’t until one specific program that I realized this is what I needed to be doing in my life: 4-H Capitol Experience, it gives 4-H members a whole governmental experience.”

“This event gave me a real life look at the inside proceedings of our state government,” DeFrancesco stated. “The experience spurred my love for governmental proceedings. I returned home and told my mom that I had decided to go into political science. I now have my bachelor’s in political science and am looking to pursue a career in law. I don’t think I would be on the same path I am today if it weren’t for 4-H!”

Currently working towards a master’s degree in philosophy at Eastern Michigan University, DeFrancesco earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Ferris State University, where she was a member of the Speech and Debate Team, Model United Nations (UN) Club, and focused on women’s advocacy.

“My 4-H career helped shape the decisions I made for my future. By participating in 4-H programs throughout high school, I discovered a passion for leadership, political science, and the need to help make a difference.”

DeFrancesco continued, “If you are thinking about joining 4-H, please do it. You will meet so many amazing people, get to experience so many different incredible opportunities, and be a part of an amazing community who will support you continuously.”

“4-H has enhanced my life in so many ways and continues to do so. I am so grateful for being a part of this community. I can honestly say that it has changed my life for the better, therefore I am confident it will positively change others.”

To learn more about becoming involved with Michigan 4-H as a youth member or adult volunteer, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

4-H flags

Douglas E. Lewis, of Milan, was reelected president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation at the fall board meeting Oct. 6, 2017.

Lewis is the director of student legal services for the University of Michigan. He represents the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the Council on Ag Research Extension and Teaching, serves on the MSU Extension District 12 Advisory Committees, is a Washtenaw County 4-H volunteer and is a member of the Washtenaw County MSU Extension Council.

Also reelected were: as vice president, Sara Stuby, Centreville; as treasurer, Rob Johnson, St. Johns, internal audit manager, MSU Federal Credit Union; and as secretary, Julie Chapin, Portland, state 4-H leader and director and MSU Extension Institute for Children and Youth. The immediate past president is Sheila Burkhardt, Novi, senior director of member relations and public affairs at Michigan Milk Producers Association.

Board of trustee elections were held during the annual membership meeting Oct. 6. Stuby and Burkhardt were re-elected to a three-year term on the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. Youth trustee Alondra Alvizo, Detroit, was re-elected for a one-year term to complete her three years on the board. Johnson was also re-elected as a trustee through the end of the year.

Additionally, trustees retiring from the board were recognized Oct. 6 for their service to 4-H: former board president and Resource Development Committee chair Smallwood Holoman, Jr., Midland, former Facilities Committee chair Harmony Nowlin, Elwell, and treasurer and Finance Committee Chair Robert Johnson, St. Johns.

Michigan 4-H Foundation horizontal logo

The Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees approved a new 10-year strategic plan in early 2021.

In 2019, after the completion of the 2011-2018 Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future, the Michigan 4-H Foundation undertook the process of developing a new strategic plan. Sara Stuby, board president at the time, assigned a task force of several Michigan 4-H Foundation trustees, led by trustee Julie Chapin, to identify a goal to guide the organization’s work for the next 10 years.

“It was important that the board developed a new strategic plan to provide a road map for the future,” said Julie Chapin, Strategic Planning Taskforce chair. “I was pleased to lead this effort, which will provide the board with direction and focus in our fundraising and partnership efforts.”

The Strategic Plan overall long-term goal is for the Michigan 4-H Foundation to provide 50 percent of the annual state 4-H programming budget to support the 4-H learning experiences and training for youth and adults in the next 10 years. Examples of statewide 4-H learning experiences may include events, programs, workshops, trainings, innovative programming efforts, 4-H Children’s Gardens programming, county and club grants, scholarships, etc.

The Michigan 4-H Foundation currently supports 36 percent of the $1.97 million program budget for Michigan 4-H Youth Development (including statewide and county programming budget).

“We are fortunate to have a foundation board that is so dedicated to investing in the future of 4-H youth development,” said Jacob DeDecker, state leader for Michigan 4-H. “We look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership over the next decade.”

The foundation’s board committees identified the following priorities to help accomplish the Strategic Plan. The board committees responsible for these steps also have outlined plans with specific action steps to help meet these goals.

Michigan 4-H Foundation Strategic Plan Priorities

  1. Create a reserve fund to a level of $400,000 or the equivalent of one year of foundation expenses. (Finance Committee)
  2. Michigan 4-H Foundation has investment assets that generate annual support for Michigan 4-H at the state, county and local levels. (Full board, Resource Development and Finance committees)
  3. 100% of counties have a local endowment to support 4-H programming. (Resource Development Committee)
  4. Grow investment and endowment funds. (Finance and Resource Development Committees)
  5. Operating expenses of the Michigan 4-H Foundation are funded by endowment interest, rather than administration on fees on new gifts. (Finance Committee)
  6. Michigan 4-H Foundation serves a fiduciary for county grants of $5,000 or less.
  7. Increase the diversity and capacity of the Michigan 4-H Foundation board. (Board Development Committee and full board)
  8. Equip Michigan 4-H Foundation board members to advocate for and promote Michigan 4-H programming. (Board Development and Program committees)
  9. Educate MSU Extension staff members about the Michigan 4-H Foundation and its role in helping build support and resources for Michigan 4-H at the local, county and state levels. (Program Committee and full board)

Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees elections were held at the Michigan 4-H Foundation annual membership meeting Oct. 4, 2019.

Trustees are volunteers who serve as community advocates for 4-H and lead the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Trustees manage foundation policies and operations, oversee the work of  staff members and work on committees developed to facilitate foundation operations.

Trustee elections

Reelected to three-year terms on the board were: Tom Bosserd, of Plymouth; Douglas Lewis, Milan; and Roxanne Turner, Fowlerville.

Mike Sweers,  Dansville, was newly elected to a three-year term on the board. Sweers served as  a 4-H volunteer in Ingham County, where he was the dairy superintendent alongside his wife, Jan, for 12 years. They raised three daughters, who all participated in 4-H from ages 5 to 19, and he was leader of the Dansville 4Leaf Clovers 4-H Club throughout those years. In addition to dairy, Sweers also assisted in the goat and rabbit project areas.

Sweers is the executive chief engineer for the Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma and 4Runner vehicle programs at Toyota Motor North America, Research and Development (TMNA R&D), headquartered in York Township, Michigan. Sweers also serves as executive vice president at the global parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation. Since joining Toyota in 1990, Sweers has held several leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Toyota Technical Center and TMNA R&D. Before joining Toyota, Sweers served as a project engineer with Chrysler Corporation from 1986 to 1990. He started his career at General Motors Oldsmobile Division, later becoming BOC J/N Platform. Sweers received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Detroit. He followed this with a specialty in Quality Control Management, from which he graduated magna cum laude with an associate of applied science degree from Lansing Community College. He has received U.S. patents for automotive seating and interior trim components. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and is a senior member of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Officer elections

Sara A. Stuby, of Centreville, was reelected president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Stuby retired from MSU Extension in 2008 as the s MSU Extension southwest regional director. Stuby and her husband, Dale Stuby, co-own and operate Dale Stuby Farms and Legacy Land Farms, a 1,000-acre crop farm in Constantine. Stuby is a St. Joseph County 4-H alumna, a 4-H Emerald Clover Society member and a longtime 4-H volunteer. Since 2014, Sally and Dale have been members of the Leadership 10, serving as leadership supporters and public advocates for the Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future.

Also reelected were: as vice president, Sheila Wade Kneeshaw, Detroit; as treasurer, Melissa Humphrey, Fowler; and as secretary, Jacob M. DeDecker, St. Johns. The immediate past president is Douglas E. Lewis, Milan.

Additionally, youth trustee Emily Kittendorf’s  term expired, and she was recognized for her service to 4‑H.

Sheila Wade Kneeshaw, Michigan 4-H Foundation president
Sheila Wade Kneeshaw, Michigan 4-H Foundation president
Sheila Wade Kneeshaw, of Detroit, was reelected president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation board of trustees at its fall board meeting Oct. 1. The Michigan 4-H Foundation is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that supports the mission and vision of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H Youth Development statewide. The foundation receives donations from individuals and organizations to support 4-H youth development. Since 2015, Kneeshaw has served as the Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association (WNF&GA), Michigan Division representative on the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s board, a tradition that began with the incorporation of the Michigan 4-H Foundation in 1952. This past year Kneeshaw served as president of the Indian Village Branch, WNF&GA. Before retiring and transitioning to community volunteer leadership roles, Kneeshaw worked for 40 years as an employee of the City of Detroit serving in roles that included economic development manager and project manager. She is an avid gardener and arts activist, additionally serving as a member of The Herb Society of America – The Grosse Pointe Unit; Western Wayne County Master Gardener Association; Nichols School Garden – Jr. Master Gardener Program; Meadowbrook Hall Garden Club; the Detroit Garden Center Garden Club; Theatre Arts Club of Detroit; Fine Arts Club; The Grosse Pointe Theatre; and the Detroit Institute of Arts where she has served as both a Gallery Service volunteer and member of the board of director’s Arts and Flowers Committee. Michigan 4-H Foundation trustees are volunteers who manage foundation policies and operations, and are community advocates for ongoing and increasing support for 4-H. They are also charged with overseeing the activities of foundation staff members and working on committees developed to facilitate foundation operations. Also reelected were: as vice president is Thomas L. Bosserd, of Plymouth, a representative for Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management Services. Re-elected as treasurer is Melissa Humphrey, Fowler, regional vice president for GreenStone Farm Credit Services; and as secretary, Jacob M. DeDecker, St. Johns, state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development and MSU Extension Children and Youth associate director. The immediate past president is Sara A. Stuby of Centreville. Board of trustees election results Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees elections were held at the Oct. 1 Michigan 4-H Foundation Annual Membership Meeting. Re-elected to three-year terms on the board were: Jennifer Kiel, St. Johns, Sheila Kneeshaw, Detroit, and Andrew Walker, Saginaw. Bruce Sutherland, Okemos, was confirmed as a trustee by the membership. He was elected earlier in the year by the foundation’s board.
Pam Babbitt

Pam Babbitt of Muskegon County

Pam Babbitt of Muskegon County.

Although she wasn’t involved in 4-H as a youth, Pam Babbitt of Muskegon County has been giving her time, talent and treasure to 4-H for nearly 50 years. Babbitt first became a 4-H leader in 1969 and her involvement grew from there. She joined the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees in 1985 and in her 35 years on the board, Babbitt has been a committed donor and advocate for growing 4-H resources across the state.

“I’ve always enjoyed being involved with 4-H,” she said. “Your reward as a volunteer is seeing the kids achieve.”

Babbitt loves 4-H, which is why she continues to give back to Michigan 4-H.

“I can see the need and know others can benefit from the donations I make,” she said. “I do it because I’m able to.”

Babbitt has supported 4-H in a variety of ways over the years including gifts to State 4-H Awards, the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens, Kettunen Center and the 4-H Annual Fund. During the Vision 2021 Campaign for Kettunen Center, she sponsored a room in Birch Lodge, a Red Oak room and contributed to the Capstone Campaign. She also sponsored a room in the new Gerstacker Wing of Cedar Lodge and was the winning bidder on the Garfield 4-H print during the 4-H Centennial Gala in 2002.

Most recently, Babbitt’s gifts have supported the Muskegon County 4-H Endowment Fund.

“Muskegon County 4-H had a goal to try to raise $50,000 for matching funds. It was an idea that I had that my support should go to this fund to help towards that goal,” Babbitt said. “So they could have matching funds to make the county 4-H grow and expand.”

Qualifying gifts to the participating county 4-H endowments were matched 1:1 by the Michigan 4-H Foundation, ultimately doubling donors’ gifts to grow local 4-H endowments. These investments will provide on-going support for 4-H program delivery in local communities for generations to come. The match opportunity would not have been possible without investments from match pool donors to provide the matching funds. The county endowment match opportunity ended Dec. 31, 2018.

Babbitt became a Michigan 4-H Foundation trustee 35 years ago, making her the longest serving member of the board. Trustees are volunteers who serve as community advocates for 4-H and lead the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Trustees manage foundation policies and operations with oversight of staff members and work on committees developed to facilitate foundation operations.

Babbitt recalled how she became a Michigan 4-H Foundation trustee.

“I was president of the Muskegon County 4-H Council. Our 4-H agent at the time asked me if I’d be interested in serving on the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s board. I didn’t think I qualified, but he assured me the foundation was seeking women in business. Then the foundation’s president at the time interviewed me and I joined the board – that was in 1985,” Babbitt said. “I didn’t quite understand all that it was about, but now I think I’m the longest serving trustee on the board.”

Babbitt has served terms as Michigan 4-H Foundation president, vice president, immediate past president and treasurer and chaired the foundation’s Personnel Committee for over a decade.

“I can see the value of it in young people’s lives across the state. I enjoy Kettunen Center and the training quality that offered at Kettunen,” Babbitt said. “It’s a nice place to visit and it’s nice to be a part of it.”

“1971 was the first time I was at Kettunen Center. It was for a 4-H Food and Nutrition workshop. The center was very different than what it is now – with an A, B and C lodge, that’s what they were called back then. It’s been a joy to see how Kettunen Center has changed.”

“Over the years I attended a variety of 4-H workshops including craft, FOLKPATTERNS, citizenship, leadership. I enjoyed going to them.”

Although Babbitt was not involved in 4-H as a youth, she became a 4-H leader in 1969, 50 years ago.

“A neighbor invited my kids to a meeting and to join their 4-H club. My kids were five and six at the time,” Babbitt said. “My son and daughter were both involved in 4-H until they graduated high school and went to college – and I stayed in 4-H.”

“That first year they did a stamp collection. The next year my neighbor asked if I’d like to teach the kids knitting and the Needle Beatles 4-H Club just kept growing.

“At one time we had 40 members. We’ve done sewing, baking, macramé, string art, gift wrapping – one year we even made Cabbage Patch dolls.”

As a 4-H volunteer, she attended 4-H Exploration Days, Kettunen Center 4-H workshops and a variety of other statewide events. For many years, she also served as a member of the Muskegon County 4-H Leaders Council, helped out with the Muskegon County fair and judged local competitions.

4-H also has deep roots in her family. Babbitt’s late husband, Ed, was a 4-H alumnus and a 4-H volunteer. She recalled him helping 4-H members build a car. “My son still gets out his 4-H car every once in a while,” she said.

When her husband was very ill, a local person asked her if she would be interested in building a garden on a section of property she and her husband owned in downtown Muskegon. After her husband passed in 2004, she approved the garden plans and in 2005, dedicated the Heritage Memorial Garden in Ed’s memory. After the dedication, Babbitt received numerous inquiries from others interested in sponsoring memorial benches. To date the garden has 30 memorial benches, two fountains – one each for Ed and Pam – and a gazebo, frequently used for wedding photos.

“My husband was in the first 4-H Emerald Clover Society class and the stone marking his memorial fountain is from the Emerald Clover Society. When the company was working on the wall for Kettunen Center, they did a sample engraving and that stone now marks the fountain in his memory,” she explained.

Although Babbitt isn’t a leader of the Needle Beatles any longer, she still remains active with her local community, especially with the Heritage Memorial Garden. She is also a member of Rotary Club, the Woman’s Division Chamber of Commerce, Milwaukee Clipper board treasurer, and serves on a variety of committees for these organizations.

Pam Babbitt

Pamala R. Babbitt

Pamala R. Babbitt retired from the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees Oct. 1, 2021 after nearly four decades of service to Michigan 4-H.

“We will truly miss Pam’s voice and presence, as well as her historical perspective and guidance on the board,” said Sara Stuby, Michigan 4-H Foundation immediate past president. “On behalf of the entire board of trustees, we thank you, Pam, for giving nearly four decades of service to the Michigan 4-H Foundation and over 50 years of service as a 4-H volunteer in Muskegon County.”

Pamala Babbitt

Babbitt served as a Michigan 4-H Foundation trustee since 1984-85. She served the board in numerous roles including treasurer, president and immediate past president.

Babbitt chaired the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s Facilities Committee for a number of years and later chaired the Personnel Committee ensuring that foundation staff members, including those at Kettunen Center, were well-compensated and received proper benefits for their employment. She co-chaired the Michigan 4-H Centennial Celebration committee, celebrating 100 years of 4-H with a variety of events held throughout the year in 2002. She and her husband, Ed, were the auction winners of the Garfield comic strip print commemorating 4-H’s centennial.

Babbitt is also a generous donor to 4-H, the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens and Kettunen Center. As such, she has been honored as a member of the Cornerstone Society and also with a rock on the wall at Kettunen Center.

An accountant by training, she is retired from Babbitt’s Sports Center in Muskegon and has been an active 4-H volunteer leader in her community since 1969, where she served as both president and treasurer of the Muskegon County 4-H Council.

In honor of Babbitt’s longtime service, the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees is providing a special recognition in her honor at the Heritage Memorial Gardens in her hometown of Muskegon, a beautiful garden built, and donated by Babbitt, in memory of her late husband Ed.

Tribute gifts honoring Babbitt’s longtime service to 4-H may be made at https://mi4hfdtn.org/memorialtributedonation.

Additional Trustee Service Recognition

In addition, youth trustee Shawn McNamara’s term expired and was recognized for his service at the Oct. 1 Michigan 4-H Foundation Annual Membership Meeting . A St. Joseph County 4-H’er, McNamara graduated from Centreville High School, where he was dual enrolled with Glen Oaks Community College. Midland County 4-H alumna, parent and volunteer, Mary Draves was also recognized for her service as a trustee for the past 10 years. Draves resigned from the board in April 2021 and chaired the foundation’s Personnel Committee. She serves as Global Director of Environmental Remediation and Restoration & Environmental Technology Center for Dow.

Millenbah recommended as CANR interim dean
Kelly F. Millenbah, Ph.D., has been recommended as interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), effective July 1, 2021, pending MSU Board of Trustees approval. Millenbah currently serves as CANR senior associate dean, a position she will retain during her assignment as interim dean. She will replace Ronald L. Hendrick, Ph.D., who was named provost and vice president of academic affairs at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, a post he begins serving July 1.

Tyler appointed MSU Extension interim director
On May 1, Quentin R. Tyler, Ph.D., CANR associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, became interim director of MSU Extension. Tyler replaces Patrick Cudney who served as acting director after Jeff Dwyer, Ph.D., stepped down as director of MSU Extension for a sabbatical. Both the MSU Extension director and CANR dean represent permanent trustee positions on the Michigan 4-H Foundation board of trustees. As such, Tyler, and soon Millenbah, will hold these trustee positions on the board.

Johnson named associate director of MSU Extension’s children and youth initiatives
Brian Johnson, Ph.D., J.D., was named associate director of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute (CYI) effective Feb. 1. Johnson works alongside Erica Tobe, CYI director, and Jacob DeDecker, who also serves as CYI associate director and Michigan 4-H state leader. Johnson provides leadership in reaching underserved populations and expanding programs. He was chosen for the position after a search that highlighted his leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion practices and approaches.

MSU Extension development staff transitions
On Feb. 1, Amanda Masters, assistant director of development for 4-H, transitioned to the role of associate director of development for the MSU College of Education. In addition, Bridget Paff, MSU Extension development director, retired Dec. 5. MSU Extension is in discussions with college leadership and University Advancement to determine next steps for these MSU Extension development positions. In the interim, Tami Baumann, CANR senior director of development, serves as the point person for MSU Extension and 4-H philanthropy.

Midland County 4-H volunteer Ervin Currie II, of Midland, was elected to the Michigan 4-H Foundation board of trustees at its April board meeting.

Ervin Currie II

Ervin Currie II

Trustees are volunteers who manage foundation policies and operations, and are community advocates for ongoing and increasing support for 4-H. They are also charged with overseeing the activities of foundation staff members and working on committees to facilitate foundation operations.

Currie is a project manager for Dow Inc. with a primary focus on IT infrastructure projects. He is responsible for project planning and management throughout the project lifecycle and accountable for budget, contingency, scope, as well as issue and risk management. He also facilitates the Agile training for the company’s project management office. He has spent the last 22 years supporting the success of the company in multiple IT leadership positions which included short assignments in Freeport, Texas, Philadelphia, Brazil, and India.

Currie’s four young boys all participate in a multitude of sports and 4-H activities. They are all current members of both Gray and Northern Dreamers 4-H clubs in Midland County where Currie is an active adult leader. He is the current vice president of the Midland County 4-H Council and has been an active council member since 2018. He is a certified archery instructor through the 4-H Shooting Sports Program and uses his knowledge to conduct the archery activities at the weeklong Camp Neyati program for the Midland County 4-H youth.

As an avid gardener, livestock farmer, outdoor sportsman and entrepreneur, Currie took his passion to the next level and launched Open Season Coffee. The company spends a portion of the proceeds on youth hunter safety programs and wildlife habitat improvements.

Currie received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps and earned both an associate’s degree in science from Delta Community College and a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on project and business management from Baker College.