Dr. Monte Anderson hearkened a mantra his parents always told him as a child: “You can do anything, but you’ve got to finish it.” That qualification of seeing a task — be it a simple action or one’s life’s work — to its successful conclusion was celebrated as Wilmington College’s longtime professor gained induction into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.
This summer, Anderson retired after serving 36 years on the College’s agriculture faculty. He received the prestigious honor of becoming a member of the 2021 induction class Friday, Aug. 6 at the 55th Ohio Agricultural Council Hall of Fame Breakfast at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.
In a video shown at the ceremony, Anderson spoke on how the College’s then sputtering agriculture program in the mid-1980s was transformed into the status it enjoys today as WC’s largest academic major.
“Everybody brought something to the table,” he said about his department contemporaries, professors Harold Thirey, Dr. Alfred Conklin and Dr. Don Chafin, who, led by Anderson, changed the agriculture curriculum to focus upon internships and other hands-on learning opportunities.
Those experiences not only complemented what was learned in the classroom but also have served to make WC’s agriculture graduates so marketable that, most years, more than 90 percent already have good jobs or graduate school lined up by Commencement.
Anderson noted he always encouraged prospective students to visit and attend the school — be it a Wilmington College or The Ohio State University — where they would “feel the most comfortable. What’s best for the students was always how we started our conversations.”
Implicit in his recruitment presentation was, regardless of whether WC or OSU was the better fit, “We want you in agriculture!” That advocacy for the state’s largest industry is another factor in Anderson’s selection for the Hall of Fame.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine saluted the new inductees during the program.
“Ohio is a major agriculture state and this Hall of Fame goes a long way in recognizing that agriculture is so important,” he said, while also alluding to some familiarity he has with each of the new inductees or their affiliations. “Wilmington College has a long, great history of agricultural education.”
WC 2020 graduate Kameron Rinehart nominated Anderson for the honor in assembling an exhaustive quantity of data and testimonials in support of his former professor’s candidacy.
“Monte is a legend at Wilmington College,” Rinehart wrote on social media when Anderson’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame was announced in late spring. “Thousands of students have been impacted through his mentorship and teaching.”
Rinehart, who is a graduate research and teaching assistant as a master’s degree candidate at Ohio State, also lauded Anderson as the most “humble and generous” individual he’s ever known. “Monte helped shape the lives of so many individuals that no award or recognition will ever be enough to thank him for his passion and dedication to his career and (advocacy for) the agricultural industry.”