Class Notes


Chuck Walker (BSA — Dairy Manufacturing, ’49) is now retired. At age 93, he still likes to read about today’s students at the University of Georgia. One of his favorite activities in retirement is mentoring high school boys for Take Stock in Children, which strives to keep them in school, encourages them to make the best grades and gives them a small scholarship to attend college. Walker’s motto is “Keep Thinking and Keep Moving!”


Wayne O’Stean (MS — Agricultural Economics, ’62) is retired as a banker and lives in Hoover, Alabama.

Robert H. Whitaker Jr. (BSA — Agricultural Economics, ’63; MS — Agricultural Economics, ’68) is retired after a long career in agriculture, including serving as president and CEO of Transcontinental Services LTD. He lives in Lexington, South Carolina.


Will Harris (BSA — Animal Science, ’76) received the 2020 Flavor of Georgia category award for Honey and Related Products for White Oak Pasture’s Wildfower Honey.

Charlie Pate (MS — Entomology, ’75) is retired and lives in Eatonton, Georgia.

Powell Smith (BSA — Microbiology, ’79; MPPPM — Plant Protection and Pest Management, ‘85) is a retired vegetable entomologist from Clemson University and is living in Gilbert, South Carolina.


Virginia Franks (BSA — Animal Science, ’81; MS — Dairy Science, ’84) is a dairy farmer in Waynesboro, Georgia.

John Bernard (MS — Dairy Science, ’84; PhD — Animal and Dairy Science, ’87) retired from the University of Georgia after 22 years with the Department of Animal and Dairy Science.

Hardy Edwards III (BSA — Agricultural Economics, ’85; MS — Food Science, ’94) is a farmer in Winterville, Georgia.

Richey Seaton (BSA — Agricultural Economics, ’85) retired at the end of July as executive director for the Georgia Cotton Commission.

Bradford Cornelius (BSA — Agricultural Economics, ’87) was recently appointed president and CEO of Farm Credit of the Virginias, a member of the Farm Credit System serving Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

Jerry Arnold (MS — Animal Science, ’88; PhD — Animal and Dairy Science, ’91) has relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska, after 20-plus years in Valentine, Nebraska. He is now in his second year teaching math at Gretna High School, a large class A school outside Omaha.


Diane Deverell Helton (BSA — Animal Science, ’93) is a pharmacy technician at Hamilton Medical Center.

Ron Walcott (PhD — Plant Pathology, ’99) has been named the University of Georgia’s inaugural vice provost for graduate education and dean of the UGA Graduate School. In this role, he will work with schools and colleges across campus to enhance the recruitment, support and success of graduate students. Walcott is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and has served as interim dean of the Graduate School since September 2019. Walcott was named associate dean of the Graduate School in 2017, a role in which he assisted in the development and implementation of strategic initiatives, represented the graduate school on institutional committees and oversaw student support programs and services, among other responsibilities. He previously served as graduate coordinator in the Department of Plant Pathology, as the assistant dean for diversity and multiculturalism in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and as assistant director of the university’s Lilly Teaching Fellows Program. He began his academic career at UGA in 1999 as an assistant professor and earned the rank of professor in 2012.

Russ Goodman (BSA — Agricultural Economics, ’99) was elected to the Georgia State Senate to represent District 8.


F.K. Saalia (PhD — Food Science, ’01), professor and head of the Department of Food Engineering at University of Ghana-Legon, has been awarded one of the first 10 O.R. Tambo African Research Chairs from the South Africa National Research Foundation in collaboration with several other foundations and councils. Saalia, who was named to the chair in Food Safety and Quality, will receive $1 million in funding for his research over five years. Saalia continues to collaborate with University of Georgia colleagues and is currently working with Sharon Affrifah (PhD — Food Science, ’04), to update a chapter in a monograph, “Dry Beans and Pulses,” edited by Mark Uebersax and Muhammad Siddiq of Michigan State University.

Lauren McLendon (BSA — Animal Science, ’04) started a new position as a high school science teacher at Piedmont Academy in Monticello, Georgia. She is also their FFA advisor.

Chris Hale (BSA — Agribusiness, ’05) is now working as the regional sales manager for Collier Manufacturing.

Brittany Adams-Pope (BSA Animal Science, ’07; MAL — Agrcultural Leadership, ’10) received the Robin Orr Outstanding Practitioner Award from the Association of Leadership Educators.


Jessie Bland (BSA — Animal Science, ’10) was promoted to manager of promotions and marketing for the Georgia Peanut Commission. Previously, she served as the commission’s project coordinator since 2013.

Rachel McLocklin Santos (BSA — Agriculture and Applied Economics, ’10) received a presidential appointment to serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency executive director for Georgia.

Ben Salter (BSA — Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’11) is the 10th District federation manager for Georgia Farm Bureau.

Taylor Sills (BSA — Agriculture and Applied Economics, ’11) was promoted to executive director for the Georgia Cotton Commission. Sills previously served as the commission’s director of public affairs.

Matt Hestad (BSA — Agricultural Communication, ’12) has been promoted to vice president of engagement at Georgia Forestry Association.

Taylor Lee (BSA — Food Science, ’13) was promoted to associate winemaker at E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Emily Wagener (MS — Food Science, ’15) started a new job with Darifair Foods in Jacksonville, Florida, as the sales development manager.

Matthew Pace (BSA — Agriculture and Applied Economics, ’16) has been hired as a credit information analyst for AgFirst Farm Credit Bank in West Columbia, South Carolina.

Josh Dawson (MPPPM — Plant Protection and Pest Management, ’17) was selected as the 2020 Miles A. Drummond Rising Star Award recipient by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Alumni Association. The Miles A. Drummond Rising Star Award is presented annually to ABAC alumni 29 years of age or younger who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement, community service and service to the college. Dawson currently serves as the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Lowndes County through Fort Valley State University Extension.

Emily Walker (BSA — Food Science, ’17) is a plan reviewer and outreach liaison with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Katrina Laurel-Searcy (MS — Plant Pathology, ’18) is the Cook County 4-H Youth agent with UGA Cooperative Extension. In July, she was selected to be on the cover of the “My Cook Magazine,” a yearly publication in Cook County that recognizes outstanding members of the community. Laurel-Searcy was featured in a two-page spread in the magazine. She and her husband, Jonathon Van Keith Searcy (BSA — Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’14; MPPPM — Plant Protection and Pest Management, ’17) live in Tifton, Georgia.

Bryan Tucker (BSA — Agribusiness, ’18) started a new job with the Georgia Peanut Commission as project coordinator for farm and field services.


Abby Connally (BSA — Animal Science, ’20) is an operations manager associate with Cargill.

Sadie Lackey (BSA — Agricultural Communication, ’20) is a program specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Washington, D.C.

McKenzie Hedrick (BSA — Animal Science, ’20; BSA — Biological Science, ’20) is a carrier procurement specialist for XPO Logistics.

Tucker West (BSA — Agribusiness, ’20) has started his own business, Liberty Farms Livestock, in White Plains, Georgia, where he raises livestock including Boer goats.