Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Herman Talmadge Herman Talmadge 2002

Herman Talmadge

2002

Herman Talmadge
Herman Talmadge was a major influence in the growth of Georgia 4-H and the creation of Rock Eagle 4-H Center. While Governor of Georgia, he provided matching funds to aid in construction of Rock Eagle. The Herman E. Talmadge Auditorium as named for him because of his tremendous contributions to the 4-H Center. Talmadge was also honored as a National 4-H Alumni Award during his tenure as Governor. In 1972, Senator Talmadge continued the 4-H Washington Intern program begun by Senator Richard Russell. Through this program Collegiate 4-H’ers worked for Senator Talmadge in his Washington office for college credit.
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G.C. Adams G.C. Adams 2002

G.C. Adams

2002

G.C. Adams
Georgia and the South are indebted to Newton Co. native Prof. G.C. Adams, for founding the Newton Co. Corn Club in Dec. 1904. This club was followed by tomato and other farm products clubs, canning clubs, and ultimately the 4-H Clubs of Georgia in 1921. On Dec. 23, 1904, Prof. Adams announced the first corn contest in the Covington Enterprise, which 151 boys entered. Adams was principal at Palmer Institute at Oxford and the County School Commissioner.
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Mary Cresswell Mary Cresswell 2002

Mary Cresswell

2002

Mary Cresswell
Mary E. Cresswell, while supervisor of home economics and school garden work at Georgia State Normal School in Athens, had been made a collaborator with the Department of Agriculture in 1911 to develop girls’ canning programs in Georgia. She was later appointed to a position in Washington, becoming the first woman to serve in the Farmers’ Cooperative Demonstration Work office. Her major task was to broaden the canning program into an all-year program for the farm home and family, with the help of state canning club leaders. This included working with farm youth in sewing, kitchen and other home subjects. At Cresswell’s suggestion, all of the women Extension workers eventually were called home demonstration agents.
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Bill Sutton Bill Sutton 2002

Bill Sutton

2002

Bill Sutton
W.A. “Bill” Sutton was the founder of Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Georgia and led the purchase of land for the National 4-H Center. Bill Sutton was intensely interested in the development of a state-wide 4-H Youth Center. In 1950, when he heard that the acreage at the Rock Eagle mound and lake may be available, he flew to Washington to secure the federally-owned area. After a visit with Rep. Carl Vinson, it was deeded to the Univ. of Georgia for the 4-H Youth Center. Ground was broken in 1951, and the largest 4-H center in the world was completed in 1955. Bill Sutton was born and reared in Emanuel County Georgia. He was a member of the 4-H Corn and Pig Club for twelve years. He graduated from the University of Georgia and became a County Extension Agent in Fulton, Twiggs and Irwin Counties. He became Georgia 4-H Assistant State 4-H Leader in 1939, State 4-H Leader in 1942 and Associate Director of Extension in 1954.
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Tommy Walton Tommy Walton 2004

Tommy Walton

2004

Tommy Walton
Dr. Walton was a native of Columbus, GA. He served in the Navy from 1942-45. Walton received a technical degree from Dar Aero Tech, Bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees in Agriculture from the University of Georgia, and a Doctorate in Education from Cornell University (1962). He joined the Cooperative Extension Service as Cobb Co. assistant County Agent in 1949. In 1951 he transferred to UGA as an extension economist, community development specialist, then was appointed State 4-H Leader in 1954. In 1972 he was appointed Assistant Director of Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development Programs. Walton was a regional leader for Extension and active at the national level of 4-H. After retiring, he served as Georgia 4-H Foundation Director, 1976-78. Dr. Walton is remembered for his vision and contributions to leadership development. Because he believed that 4-H’ers should become responsible, informed, productive, and active citizens involved in government, Walton established the U.S. Senate / Georgia 4-H Patronage Program that continues today. He supported the Georgia 4-H Board of Directors and 4-H District Officers with the statewide 4-H Officer Training program. Georgia 4-H established the Tommy Walton 4-H Leadership Endowment and Lecture Series to honor his commitment to 4-H leadership. The Endowment provides funds to enhance officer training for newly elected district and state officers, and the Lecture Series brings leading personalities to the State 4-H Council program.
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Martha Harrison Jones Martha Harrison Jones 2004

Martha Harrison Jones

2004

Martha Harrison Jones
Martha was a native of Bartow County and later moved to Washington County, where she was an active 4-H club member and “where I dreamed of becoming a home demonstration agent.” Martha received her BS degree in Home Economics from the University of Georgia in 1942. While still in college, she had worked as an Assistant Home Demonstration Agent in Mitchell County. She began her official Extension career as a Home Demonstration Agent in Monroe County after graduation. In 1944 she moved to Thomas County as the Home Demonstration Agent. From 1946-1960, she served as 4-H Club Leader on the State Extension staff. In 1960, she assumed the position of Northeast District Agent in Home Economics; in 1969, she served as State Home Economics Leader until her retirement in January, 1972. Martha was a Charter member of the Georgia 4-H Club Foundation, where she led a campaign that raised over $3 million for the development of the Rock Eagle 4-H Club Center. When construction began on Rock Eagle 4-H Center in 1952, Bill Sutton, State 4-H Leader, granted Martha a one year sabbatical to complete her graduate study at Cornell University. Her thesis and essay “A Study of 4-H Club Camping” was the beginning of the summer camping program that exists at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. She returned from Cornell as Associate State 4-H Club Leader in 1954. Martha initiated the Georgia 4-H Club Community Improvement Program. She served on the Governors Commission for Mental Health and Mental Retardation and as the President of the Carroll County Association of Retarded Citizens in 1980.
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Otis ONeal Otis ONeal 2006

Otis ONeal

2006

Otis ONeal
In 1914, when the Smith-Lever Act created the Cooperative Extension Service, Otis O’Neal became the Negro County Extension Agent in Houston and Peach Counties. As corn projects grew, it was natural for black families to feed out a few hogs and butcher them for a year-round supply of meat. Hen houses began to spring up in backyards, providing a supply of eggs. In 1916 O’Neal staged the first of what would become famous as “Ham and Egg” shows at Fort Valley. O’Neal said that he started the show so that thrifty farmers could demonstrate their meat-raising and curing techniques for other farmers. The first show had 37 hams and 17 dozen eggs. The events grew in size and popularity and eventually were held in 22 GA counties, climaxing with a big show in Fort Valley. The famous shows made Life Magazine and national television. From the start, 4-H youth participated in the shows – the first competitive events for black youth in GA. O’Neal was integral in starting the black Folk Music Festival in 1940 which was held in conjunction with the Ham and Egg Show because it drew in people from the entire region. In one GA county, the Ham and Egg Show continues today. In 1979 the O’Neal Veterinary Technology Building was constructed at Fort Valley State University to honor Otis Samuel O’Neal.
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Tommy Irvin Tommy Irvin 2007

Tommy Irvin

2007

Tommy Irvin
The Honorable Tommy Irvin has been Ag Commissioner since 1969 – America’s longest longest serving statewide official. He has served actively on the Georgia 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees for over 20 years, as well as 4-H and college advisory committees. He is a 4-H donor who has endowed a scholarship for 4-H members and leveraged and authorized hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit 4-H. He is dean of Georgia’s Constitutional Officers; Chairman of the GA Development Authority and the GA Seed Development Commission; a member of the GA State Financing and Investment Commission, the GA Agrirama Development Authority, the GA State Employee Benefits Plan Council and ex-officio member of eleven GA Agricultural Commodity Commissions. Thirty-third Degree Mason, Shriner, Alpha Gamma Rho member, Alpha Zeta honorary member, University Chapter of Aghon member, and Trustee of Truett-McConnell College. Honors: Progressive Farmer Magazine Man of the Year in Service to Agriculture; National Award for Agricultural Excellence; Friend of 4-H Award; Friend of the County Agent Award; National FFA Honorary American Farmer Degree and Southeastern Poultry and Egg Association “Workhorse of the Year” Award. Inducted into Georgia Agrirama Hall of Fame and the Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame. Received the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Service Award. Named “Democrat of the Year” and recipient of the Richard B. Russell Public Service Award.
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Rhonwyn Lowry Rhonwyn Lowry 2009

Rhonwyn Lowry

2009

Rhonwyn Lowry
Rhonwyn Lowry grew up in Moultrie, GA and was active in 4-H. She was a state winner in Public Speaking, Dairy Foods and Electric and attended National 4-H Congress in 1947 as Electric Project winner. After receiving a BS in Home Economics from University of Georgia, she was selected for the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) and spent four months in Denmark. Upon her return, she became Home Demonstration Agent in Cook County. She was awarded a National 4-H Fellowship, which provided a year of work and. study at the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Washington. At the end of this year she received an M.Ed. from University of Maryland. Rhonwyn returned to GA and was appointed Asst. State 4-H Leader. She went on to serve 10 years as Associate State 4-H Leader and 3 years as Extension Home Economist leading the Georgia Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). She held numerous leadership roles at the national, regional and state levels for both 4-H and EFNEP. She completed her Ed.D. in Adult Education at NC State in 1969. She served as Deputy Asst. Administrator, 4-H Youth, USDA, from 1973 until retirement in 1979. Rhonwyn returned to Athens and worked on projects for the state 4-H office.
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Saxby Chambliss Saxby Chambliss 2009

Saxby Chambliss

2009

Saxby Chambliss
Saxby Chambliss is a former TN 4-H member. He says he got his start in public speaking at a 4-H meeting. “I stood on a table at our local 4-H meeting, gave a speech that I know began me on a 4-H career that helped me prepare for the United States Senate.” Senator Chambliss is the National Co-Chair of the Senate 4-H Caucus. As the 4-H caucus was being formed, he was asked if he would consider chairing the group. Chambliss didn’t hesitate to say he would be honored to serve as co-chair. As Co-Chair, Senator Chambliss has been a great champion for 4-H issues across the nation. Chambliss was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and the Senator in 2002. Georgia Trend Magazine named him one of Georgia’s Most Influential Georgians and says “he is a highly visible and well-respected presence in Washington,” and “has a reputation as an affable but straight-talking lawmaker.” Chambliss is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Rules Committee and he is the Ranking Republican Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He is the only senator since 1947 to have chaired a full standing Senate Committee after serving in the Senate for just two years.
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Harold Darden Harold Darden 2010

Harold Darden

2010

Harold Darden
Harold Darden was in 4-H for 4 years in the gardening project in Troup Co. and in Collegiate 4-H for 2 years. From 1947-1954 he was Asst. County Agent in DeKalb Co., then Carroll County Agent for two years. He joined the GA State 4-H staff in 1956. Working with Martha Harrison, they developed a 4-H Camping program at the new Rock Eagle 4-H Center. He developed a selection process and training program for the college-age 4-H alumni serving as counselors. Darden created and carried out annually the 4-H Community Pride Workshops that increased understanding of the community and the 4-H Communication Workshops to train senior members in good communications skills and citizenship roles and responsibilities. Darden helped develop and teach at an adult volunteer 4-H leader training program that was used in most GA counties. He wrote and produced a Citizenship Ceremony that is still used to recognize and challenge new voters at State 4-H Council. Darden worked with WAGA-TV in developing and producing “The 4-H Hour,” a Saturday program featuring 4-H members and extension agents. For 20 years he participated in planning and directing district 4-H project achievement events, State Record Judging, State 4-H Congress, State Council, State and District Officer Training and many more. He was awarded Emeritus status after retiring in 1975. He recently endowed a College Scholarship for a Rock Eagle Counselor.
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Tom Rodgers Tom Rodgers 2011

Tom Rodgers

2011

Tom Rodgers
Tom Rodgers was an active Columbia Co. 4-Her and mastered in Beef Records and Livestock Judging. As a UGA student, he served as a 4-H camp counselor and held a leadership position. After completing military service, he was employed as a District Community and Rural Development Agent, and District Director in 1977. Rodgers was named Asst. Director for 4-H & Youth and Director of the Georgia 4-H Program in 1978. In 1979, he created an environmental education program at Rock Eagle 4-H Center that served 2,000 students. Today it has expanded to all five Georgia 4-H Centers, producing $50 million in revenue and serving nearly 900,000 school students from in and around GA. The program has been replicated in many states. In 1982 Rodgers acquired the old Dolphin Hotel on Jekyll Island and converted it to a second coastal 4-H facility. It has served over 12,000 school students and 2,000 4-H members annually. In the early 80’s, Rock Eagle 4-H Center was in decline and faced possible closing. Rodgers solicited private and public funds exceeding $2.2 million for renovations at Rock Eagle and the other 4-H centers. He increased the 4-H scholarship program and established the Dawson 4-H Loan Program for higher education loans to 4-H members. Rodgers went on to serve in several administrative roles, completing his career in 2004 as Dean for Outreach and Extension, College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
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Diane Davies Diane Davies 2012

Diane Davies

2012

Diane Davies
Diane was hired in 1979 to develop an Environmental Education program at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. With six months and an annual budget of $300.00, Diane created the classes, secured the resources and served as instructor, administrator and promoter for nine years. The Environmental Education Program is now the largest of its kind and is considered a national model. Since 1979, the program has served over 900,000 students and produced over 50 million dollars in revenue for the five Georgia 4-H Centers. As a result students have shown greater effective and cognitive gains which translate into higher student achievement and students being more responsive to learning because of their personal experience. One of Diane’s dreams was a Museum of Natural History at Rock Eagle 4-H Center to enhance the outdoor environmental education program. After Diane and Tom Rodgers solicited donations from the Cecil B. Day Foundation for the construction, it opened in 1990. Diane worked with others to secure gifts to enhance other facilities at Rock Eagle and the other 4-H Centers. This included working with Arch Smith, then Associate State 4-H Leader, on the Wildlife Ecology and Woodruff Aquatic Buildings and developing ropes courses at Rock Eagle and Wahsega 4-H Centers. After retiring, Diane started a pottery business, and with several friends began what is now ’Art at the Rock.’ a juried art show at Rock Eagle with over 50 artists.
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Bo Ryles Bo Ryles 2013

Bo Ryles

2013

Bo Ryles
In 1966 Dr. Roger “Bo” Ryles joined 4-H as a fifth grader in Dodge Co. He was a 4-H Camp Counselor, a 4-H Program Assistant, a 4-H Agent, a District 4-H Agent, a State 4-H Specialist, and the 7th State 4-H Leader for Georgia (1994-09). Ryles led nationally level as Chair of State 4-H Leaders and a member of the 4-H Leadership Trust during a time of great change in Extension. He is an engaging speaker and a talented musician who often used his talents to share his passionate message of 4-H. Ryles elevated the awareness of 4-H in all political arenas and with alumni and donors. He worked closely with Arch Smith as they led efforts resulting in millions of dollars in building and renovation of 4-H Centers. From its first years, Ryles has been the director of 4-H Clovers and Co. performing arts troupe, which has helped launch entertainment stars – Clovers alumni have won seven Grammy awards. Ryles was a key member of the 4-H Name and Emblem Committee, the Clover Country CD project, NAE4-HA, and a National 4-H Council Trustee. At the time of induction, Ryles serves as a Georgia 4-H Foundation Trustee, is coordinating a series of races supporting 4-H, coaches a 4-H Poultry Judging Team, works as an officer in development, teaches a UGA graduate course relative to Cooperative Extension, serves as Georgia Master 4-H Club President, and is the Great Promise Kids Executive Director.
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Emmie Nelson Emmie Nelson 2014

Emmie Nelson

2014

Emmie Nelson
Miss Emmie Nelson’s 4-H Club affiliation began as a child in what was then known as the Girls Club in Bartow County, Georgia.  Her professional career began in 1923 as a Home Demonstration Agent; in 1935 she accepted the position as assistant state 4-H Club leader for Georgia – a position she held for 10 years.  As assistant state 4-H Club leader, Miss Nelson was responsible for statewide program planning, college 4-H club activities, and training of Extension workers as well as assisting with general supervision of 4-H activities in Georgia.  She was named an honorary Georgia Master 4-H Club member in 1945.  In 1945 she joined the 4-H Service Committee in Chicago, Illinois, where she assisted with leader training programs and worked with donors of National 4-H Award Programs.  She served for 12 years as a consultant to the National 4-H Record Judging Committee. At the 1951 National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C., Miss Nelson was awarded a special citation for her service to 4-H by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  She traveled to Puerto Rico in 1954 to assist with 4-H Club Programming.  True to every part of the 4-H Pledge, Miss Nelson worked tirelessly in her hometown to establish essential services and to preserve its heritage.  The “Emmie Nelson Library” in Euharlee, Georgia, is a tribute to her dedication.  Rock Eagle 4-H Center honored Miss Nelson by naming a cabin for her; Guy Noble, director of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work, further recognized Miss Nelson’s outstanding service to 4-H by presenting to Rock Eagle 4-H Center an oil portrait for display in Talmadge Auditorium; she is the only person who was not a state 4-H leader or a director of Extension to be so honored.
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