November 18-19, 2004
ITEM 125-2401-R1104 Authorization to Confer the Title of Professor Emeritus of Extension upon Dr. LeRoy D. Luft, Montana State University-Bozeman
THAT: Upon the occasion of the retirement of LeRoy D. Luft from Montana State University, the Board of Regents wishes to express its appreciation for his service to the University, the Montana University System, and the people of the state of Montana.
EXPLANATION: LeRoy Luft received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Montana State University in Agricultural Economics. He completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nebraska. LeRoy devoted his career to providing education to local people through the land grant university system.
LeRoy has had a long and distinguished career with Montana State University Extension. The first 5 years of his career he served as a County Extension agent in Wibaux, Richland and Teton Counties. He then assumed the MSU Extension Farm Management Specialist and Extension Economist responsibilities for the following 12 years. The next step for LeRoy was into Extension administration when he was selected as the Associate Director and then, Acting Director for the MSU Cooperative Extension Service. LeRoy was then named the Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of the Idaho Cooperative Extension System. His leadership soon won him the confidence of decision makers at the University of Idaho and his work responsibilities expanded as reflected in the addition of Associate Vice Provost and Outreach to his title. After retiring from the University of Idaho, LeRoy returned to Montana. He was asked to assume the Vice Provost and Director of Extension for Montana State University on an interim basis, which he accepted for a 1-year term. During that year, he provided effective leadership and direction for the MSU Extension Service. He represented the Extension Service very effectively at the legislature and in a variety of other venues as needed or requested.
Significant to LeRoy’s distinguished career with the Extension Service, first in Montana and then in Idaho, is the influence he had on the outreach function of the land grant university. LeRoy served as chair and as a member on numerous national and state committees charged with defining the direction and leadership for Extension and Outreach. The list of committee titles would be long, but three examples are the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy - Legislative Committee, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy - Budget Committee and the NASULGC Executive Committee. The work of these groups extended across the nation and throughout the land grant system. LeRoy’s message was always consistent. The Land Grant University has a responsibility to educate and serve local citizens. Perhaps this thinking provided the basis for the current “engaged university” trends of today.
In addition to a long and distinguished career with Extension, LeRoy served as President and Senior Agricultural Economist for the Agricultural Management and Economic Consulting firm for nearly 5 years. He worked directly with agricultural producers helping them obtain the information needed to make beneficial decisions for their businesses and families. LeRoy also experienced the international community through consulting assignments in Egypt that strengthened his commitment to the value and importance of outreach from the land grant university.
LeRoy has received several awards for the work he has done through the Extension Service. These attest to the many significant contributions he has made over the years. The Distinguished Ruby Award given for outstanding leadership in Extension by the National Extension Honorary, Epsilon Sigma Phi; The Visionary Leadership Recognition Award given for exemplary leadership by the Idaho Extension Honorary, Epsilon Sigma Phi; International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame given by The Center at University of Oklahoma are but a few examples of the recognition LeRoy has received from some of the strongest critics - his peers.
For these and other contributions, the Board of Regents of Higher Education is pleased to confer upon LeRoy Luft the rank of Professor Emeritus of Extension at Montana State University and wishes him well for many years in the future.