COLUMBIA, SC: Dr. Kathy Coleman, Director of Clemson University’s Sandhill Research and Education Center (REC) near Columbia, SC, has been named recipient of the John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award by the SC Association of Agricultural Educators. The award was presented by Dr. Tom Dobbins, State Director of the Clemson University Extension Service., during the annual state conference of agricultural educators.
Dr. Coleman, a native of Hopkins, SC, earned a B.S. and an M.S. at Clemson University and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. She is a recipient of the Honorary American Farmer Degree by the 700,000-member National FFA Organization.
An employee of Clemson University for 33 years, with more than 29 of those years devoted to governmental affairs, Dr. Coleman was named Director of the Sandhill Research and Education Center in 2015. She continues to assist the Clemson Public Service and Agriculture advocacy team with legislative strategies.
The 600-acre Sandhill REC is one of six Clemson University centers across the state, which are collectively known as the Clemson Experiment Station. The primary focus of the Sandhill Center is to develop research and educational programs related to agribusiness. Dr. Coleman also serves as Assistant Team Leader for the Extension Agribusiness Program. The long-term vision for the Center includes urban agriculture and conservation research unique to local soil conditions.
Dr. Coleman and her husband, Greg, reside in Saluda, SC, and they have two sons, Lewis and Thomas (deceased), and a grandson, Weyman. A member and chairman of the Saluda County School Board for a number of years, Dr. Coleman is a former chairperson of the SC School Boards Association.
The John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award was established several years ago by the SC Association of Agricultural Educators in honor of Mr. Parris of Columbia, SC. A graduate of Clemson University, Mr. Parris is a nationally-recognized agricultural leader and conservation visionary with more than 60 years of professional service. After retiring as Executive Director of the SC Land Resources Commission, Parris served for 15 years as Director of Public Affairs for the SC Agricultural Education Program. The first South Carolinian named to the National Conservation Hall of Fame, Parris is the only one from this state to receive the National Professional Conservationist Award. Named Man of the Year in South Carolina Agriculture by the Progressive Farmer magazine, Mr. Parris is also a recipient of the National FFA Organization’s VIP Award.
The SC Association of Agricultural Educators is a professional development organization that provides continual leadership opportunities for its members and recognizes outstanding agricultural education programs throughout the state.