National 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees - Iowa 4-H Foundation

National 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

Florine Swanson

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 12:53 PM

Florine SwansonFlorine Swanson - Executive Director, Iowa 4-H Foundation

4-H Efforts: Iowa 4-H member 9 years. National 4-H Congress, 1959. National 4-H Conference, 1961. IFYE to Germany, 1963. IA 4-H Foundation Board, President, Executive Director. National 4-H Trustees Conference participant and planning committee, host in 2005. Executive Institute for Fund Development. The Power of Youth Philanthropic Fund Raising editorial team. National 4-H Council Strategic Design Team. Competencies for 4-H Fundraising Professionals Task Force.

Honors: Epsilon Sigma Phi Friend of Extension, 2008. NAE4-HA Distinguished Service Award, 2005. Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame, 2005. Epsilon Sigma Phi Mid-Career Award, 2003. Iowa 4-H Foundation Honor Court, 1999. Iowa 4-H Alumni Award, 1986. Phi Kappa Phi Alumni Initiate, 1986. Iowa State Univ. Alumni Merit Award, 1981.

Florine Swanson joined 4-H at age 10. After graduating from Iowa State, she became a volunteer 4-H club leader. Her tenure with the Iowa 4-H Foundation included 11 years on the Board of Trustees, president in 1982-83, and Executive Director from 1987-2005. Assets grew from $750,000 to over $5 million, and the annual operating budget increased from $150,000 to over $2 million. She established a $3.5 million endowment fund and led fundraising for the Extension 4-H Youth Building at Iowa State. Swanson secured a special $50,000 Iowa Dept. of Agriculture appropriation for program grants to counties and a part-time agriculture program specialist. 4-H scholarships grew from five $500 awards to over 100 valued at over $100,000.

Florine established a fund to help members attend 4-H camp, 4-H conferences, and assist with the program development fee. She coordinated over $1 million of improvements to the Iowa 4-H Camping Center. Florine served three years on the National 4-H Strategic Directions Team, three years on the National 4-H Leadership Trust, and on the Competencies for 4-H Fundraising Professionals Expert Panel. She participated in National 4-H Trustees workshops for 25 years as a trustee and Executive Director. She's been a National IFYE Alumni Association member since 1963 and served in leadership positions for two national conferences. Florine and her husband established an endowment for the Iowa 4-H Center in 2010.

Quote: The 4-H pledge has exemplified my life. It opened the doors for many opportunities as a youth and as an adult. With all opportunities comes responsibilities and thus the more I have received, the more I felt an obligation to give. The greatest reward has been the success of the young people with whom I have worked in the 4-H program and now to have a son as a 4-H leader and my grandchildren participating in the program.

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C.J. Gauger

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 12:49 PM

C.J. GaugerC. J. Gauger - Iowa State 4-H Leader, 1959-79

4-H Stats: ECOP 4-H sub-committee, 1963-67; chair 1964-67. Integrated the boy's and girl's 4-H organizations. Lead the development of a mission statement integrating 'living' and subject matter skills for youth development. Governor's Youth Council, 1970-75; chair 1972-74.

Awards: USDA Superior Service Award; Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame; Iowa Honorary 4-H Member; Master Builder of Men, National FarmHouse Fraternity.

C.J. Gauger is a 34 year Cooperative Extension Service veteran who guided Iowa's 4-H Youth Development Program as State 4-H Leader from 1959-79. During his tenure, C.J. was on the National 4-H Subcommittee of ECOP that created the foundation for life skill development that continues to evolve today. He was also a participant in the White House Conference on Youth. In addition he:

  • Believed in youth as partners in the design and execution of state 4-H program.
  • Guided the evolution of Iowa's Extension 4-H Youth Development profession.
  • Mentored hundreds of Iowa 4-H'ers to successful and fulfilling lives and careers.

Quote: "The greatest contribution of 4-H is the leadership, both in youth and adults, it has developed and which as gone
on to enhance the lives of themselves and others in unlimited, never ending ways. This is the genius of 4-H."

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Oscar H. Benson

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 12:45 PM

O.H. BensonO. H. Benson - Wright County, Iowa School Superintendent

4-H Efforts: Benson helped to establish agriculture and domestic science in Wright County Iowa schools. Along with Jessie Field in Page County, he began to use a 3 leaf clover symbol in his youth work. At the Farmers' Cooperative Extension Work office in Washington, he helped to establish the 4-H clover symbol and the meaning of Head, Heart, Hands and Health.

"The Boys' and Girls' Demonstration work represents a 'four-Square' training of the members of the 'Four-Square' needs of citizenship and home- life. The four H's represent the equal training of the head, heart, hands, and health of every child." - From a 1912 circular prepared by O.H. Benson and O.B. Martin.

Oscar H. Benson became Wright County school superintendent in 1906. As a school teacher, Benson was recognized for introducing agriculture and domestic science into his teaching. While superintendent, he pushed to include agriculture and domestic science into elementary school work. He encouraged students to exhibit their work at school fairs, much as 4-H'ers do today. Benson and Jessie Field in Page County created a 3 leaf clover symbol on pins and pennants awarded to students. In 1909 the clover design included an "H" on each leaf for Head, Heart, and Hand, and an ear of corn at the center. Benson went to work at the Farmers' Cooperative Extension Work office in Washington, DC in 1911.

As Benson traveled the country for Cooperative Extension and spoke to groups, he began to speak of a fourth H - "Hustle." Boys and girls club leaders meeting in Washington adopted the 4-H symbol in spring of 1911, along with O.B. Martin's suggestion that the fourth "H" stand for Health. Benson later created 4-H clover pins for youth demonstration work. Benson moved to the Office of Farm Management in 1912 as the first federal agent employed to develop boys' and girls' club work in the North and West. He established some cooperative agreements with state youth programs, leading to the inclusion of youth work in the 1914 legislation that created the Cooperative Extension Service.

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Fannie Buchanan

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 12:41 PM

Fannie BuchananFannie Buchanan - Writer of 4-H Songs

4-H Efforts: Fannie Buchanan became involved in the 4-H music program in the 1920's. She wrote five 4-H songs, including "The Plowing Song" dedicated to farm boys and "Dreaming" for 4-H girls. Both were introduced at the National 4-H Club Camp in 1927. In 1930 she joined the Iowa State College Extension Staff.

4-H Honors: Buchanan received a citation for distinguished service at the 1941 National 4-H Club Camp and recognition at the closing assembly of the 1944 National 4-H Club Congress.

Fannie Buchanan earned a degree in music from Grinnell College, Iowa. During World War I, she organized music and recreation activities with War Camp Community Service. Eventually she joined the Victor Talking Machine Company as a Rural Specialist. As she traveled, she came in more contact with 4-H members and leaders and became involved in the 4-H music program. She wrote the words to five 4-H songs, set to music by her college friend Rena Parish, including “The Plowing Song” dedicated to farm boys and “Dreaming” that captured the daydreams of 4-H girls that she met during her cross country travels.

These songs were introduced at the National 4-H Club Camp in 1927. The members of the Federal Extension Service and National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work helped to carry her songs throughout the country and encouraged their singing by 4-H clubs. In 1930, Buchanan joined the Iowa State College extension staff. She received a citation for distinguished service at the 1941 National 4-H Club Camp and was recognized at the closing assembly of the 1944 National 4-H Club Congress.

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George Washington Carver

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 11:25 AM

George Washington CarverGeorge Washington Carver - Researcher, Teacher, 4-H & Extension Pioneer

Carver's horticultural talents were recognized at a young age. In 1891, he became the first African American to enroll at Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. His studies exposed him to the "hands on" and "minds on" methods of teaching youth and farmers, and to his potential for serving his fellow man. He graduated from Iowa State College in 1894 and accepted a position there as a botanist. He quickly gained professional fame and went to Tuskegee Institute in 1896 at the invitation of Booker T. Washington to establish an agriculture school. At Tuskegee, he gained an international reputation in research, teaching, and outreach; his work in agriculture and nutrition is legendary.

Carver taught his students that nature is the greatest teacher and that education should be for betterment of the people in the community. He continued the field days that Booker T. Washington started, showing the results of his student' experiments. Carver applied the Iowa State extension concept and created the 'Jesup Agricultural Wagon' in 1906, bringing practical agricultural knowledge to farmers. As an educator, he used both word pictures and "hands on" examples to illustrate his points to young and old alike. His teaching at the Institute and outreach into farms brought new scientific agricultural principles into a holistic approach for farm life, and formed a foundation for Cooperative Extension and 4-H work.

Despite his many outstanding contributions to agriculture, rural families, and mankind, Carver made the modest statement, "I am no great person. I am no great scientist. I have only been able to point the way in a few things. After me will come those who read and interpret the signs, the great of the world. I am only the trailblazer."

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Max Exner

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 11:21 AM

Max ExnerMax Exner - State Music Specialist, 4-H Song Arranger & Composer

4-H Efforts: Began his extension career in NY prior to WWII, and moved to Ames, Iowa, as extension State Music Specialist from 1947-1980. Arranged eight popular 4-H songs and took The Chamber Singers of Iowa State to Chicago to record "Songs of the 4-H Clover" album. Edited a companion song book and the 1968 revision of the National 4-H Songbook. Compositions have been printed by seven publishers, including the 4-H songs, "I Have Just One" and "There Is a First Time for Everything." His anthem "I Have a Dream" was approved by the Martin Luther King Foundation.

Biography: Composer, director, folk dancer, poet - these only begin to describe Max Exner. He began his extension career in NY prior to WWII, and moved to Ames, Iowa, where he served as extension State Music Specialist from 1947- 1980. Exner conducted statewide leadership training for community, church and youth leaders in singing, music appreciation and folk dancing. He directed statewide festivals and led music and dramatic productions for several youth organizations and camps. Exner directed the Iowa State 4-H Chorus at the annual state 4-H boy's and girl's conferences.

Exner arranged eight popular 4-H songs and took The Chamber Singers of Iowa State to Chicago to record them. The resulting album, "Songs of the 4-H Clover," was sold nationwide by National 4-H Supply Service in 1963. He also edited a companion song book. In 1968 he edited the revision of the National 4-H Songbook. His desire was to encourage singing at 4-H club meetings and events - especially 4-H songs. His compositions include the 4-H songs, "I Have Just One" and "There Is a First Time for Everything." His anthem, "I Have a Dream" was approved by the Martin Luther King Foundation. Folk songs he learned while bicycling through the Alps appeared in songbooks, and his compositions have been printed by seven publishers.

Quote: "Most of all I remember my years with the State 4-H Choruses. I remember our beating ourselves to a frazzle putting on a State 4-H girls' conference, and the very next week a boys' conference. Wow! I must add that I have never directed groups of finer, more intelligent, and better motivated young people than those choruses. Two hour rehearsals in Memorial Union, and that before air-conditioning. And never a complaint or flagging of effort!"

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Duane Johnson

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 11:18 AM

Duane JohnsonDuane Johnson - Professor Emeritus, Extension Agent, State Specialist & State 4-H Program Leader

4-H Efforts: A 13 year Iowa 4-H member. Joined the Oregon 4-H program in 1959; served as county 4-H agent, state specialist and 10 years as State 4-H Program Leader. Provided leadership for curriculum development in Animal Science and Horticulture. Active on National 4- H Japanese Exchange Committee, National 4-H Congress and the
National 4-H Recognition Committee. Presently serving as national ESP President-elect. Lent expertise on youth development to the Oregon State University Task Force on Youth Initiatives and served on the board of directors for the Oregon Fairs Association, the Pacific International Livestock Exposition and the Oregon 4-H Foundation.

Duane grew up in Iowa and was a 4-H member for 13 years. He joined the Oregon 4-H program the week after his graduation from Iowa State University in 1959 and worked for 4-H until his retirement in 1999. During his career, he served as a county 4-H agent, state specialist and State 4-H Program Leader. Duane provided leadership for curriculum
development in Animal Science and Horticulture and helped author/coauthor over 125 publications used in Oregon. He was instrumental in establishing state 4-H Development Committees to advise and guide the 4-H program and implemented the first Community Coordinator program utilizing volunteers in middle management roles.

As an ex-officio member of the Oregon 4-H Foundation, Duane guided them to focus on fund development. Duane worked with and chaired the National 4-H Japanese Exchange Committee, National 4-H Congress and the National 4-H Recognition Committee. He helped to reactivate the Gamma Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) and is presently serving as national ESP President-elect. He was an ESP representative on the arrangements committee for the first Extension Galaxy Conference. He was Recognition Program Chair for NAE4-HA for three years, and as State 4-H Program Leader supported hosting the 1983 NAE4-HA Conference in Portland.

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Seaman Knapp

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 11:15 AM

Seaman KnappSeaman Knapp - "Father of Cooperative Extension"

4-H Efforts: Knapp's ideas in agriculture and education later became the Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service. In 1906 Knapp organized boys' cotton and corn clubs to promote his agricultural ideas and in 1910 a girls' corn and poultry club was added. These were some of what later became known as 4-H Clubs.

Knapp graduated with a B.A. from Union College at Schenectady, New York in 1856. He married and later moved to Benton County, Iowa, where they purchased a small sheep farm. While superintendent of the Iowa State School for the Blind, he organized and became the first president of the Iowa Improved Stock Breeders Association. In 1876 he began publishing the Western Stock Journal and Farmer, which talked about modern farm methods and some of his farm experiments. His farming
renowned led to his selection as professor of agriculture at Iowa State College of Agriculture at Ames, Iowa, in 1879. He served as president of the college from 1883 to 1884.

At Iowa State, Knapp started the concept of a demonstration farm. He drafted a bill to establish agriculture experiment stations at agricultural college that became the Hatch Act of 1887. He left Iowa in 1886 to work in the South. In 1906 Knapp initiated the county-agent plan, and he organized boys' cotton and corn growing clubs to promote his agricultural ideas. In 1910 a girls' corn and poultry club was added - the forerunners of the modern 4-H Clubs. Knapp came to Washington DC in 1907 and served at USDA until his death in 1911. His early efforts led to the Smith-Lever Act that established Cooperative Extension Service in 1914.

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Edwin T. Meredith

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 11:07 AM

E.T. MeredithEdwin T. Meredith - Publisher

4-H Efforts: Founder of "Successful Farming" magazine, Meredith helped start 4-H. In 1916 he added a "Junior Soldiers of the Soil" section as “a service for farm boys and girls and the Federal Club Work.” Meredith established a loan fund of $250,000 in 1917 to help farm youth develop projects. Over 10,000 youth received loans, pledging only their character as collateral. Eventually every Iowa county had a livestock club with assistance from the loan fund. Meredith's support of 4-H club work encouraged businessmen in other states to initiate similar loan funds. The fund continued until 1930. Meredith helped form the National Committee on Boys’ and Girls’ Club Work in 1921, and served as chairman.

When the Committee incorporated in 1924, he continued as a director and served on the Executive Committee until his death. In the Committee's formative years, Meredith helped to pay committee debts. Since that time, the Meredith Foundation and the Meredith family have been active supporters of the 4-H program at local, state, and national levels. The Iowa Conference Room at the National 4-H Center, in Memory of Edwin T. Meredith, was supported by a major gift from the Meredith Foundation. The Meredith Foundation provided the first dollars for the Iowa 4-H Camping Center, with Hickory Lodge given in Memory of Edwin T. Meredith. For many years the Meredith Foundation provided scholarship support through National 4-H Council.

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Cap Miller

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 10:58 AM

Cap MillerCap E. Miller - Keokuk County Superintendent of Schools (1903–1909)

4-H Efforts: Cap organized first county-wide boys agricultural club and girls home culture club in Iowa, started a self-supporting county school education fair and involved Iowa State College professors in local educational programs.

Significant Honors:

  • Inducted to Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame 2003
  • North Dakota Agricultural College, Economics Department Head
  • Executive Secretary of Northwest Farm Management Association (1926-1951) and National Polled Cattle Club
  • Nationally recognized Chautauqua speaker

As county Superintendent of Schools, Miller urged his teachers to promote clubs and teach farm subjects. He organized a train trip attended by 1400 people to Iowa State College in Ames to learn about livestock and farm/home economics equipment. He was one of the first to organize youth exhibitions for boys and girls to demonstrate what they had learned in their clubs. Miller's work fostered many of the teaching tools of today's 4-H program. He was inclusive of both boys and girls, and engaged the experts of Iowa State College, helping students learn from land-grant college research.

“Cap Miller is one of the most original and most forceful educators in the state. He gets a personal hold upon the children of the county and the people he meets, not by any artificial effort to please, but by the sheer power of his earnestness, his honesty, his all-compelling, obstacle-removing force.” The Iowa State Register

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Guy Noble

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 10:53 AM

Guy NobleGuy Noble - National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work

4-H Efforts: Started the first private financial partnerships with early 4-H Clubs. Organized the National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work. Their efforts to give financial support to club youth to attend the Chicago International Live Stock Exposition developed into the National 4-H Congress, which continued for decades to meet in Chicago. Promoted federal legislation to increase funding for Extension and 4-H.

Guy Noble was an early corporate supporter to 4-H. An employee of Armour Packing Company, he proposed to the company that they support trips for state club winners to the 1919 Chicago International Live Stock Exposition. He arranged tours and entertainmnet for their guests. After several of these successful annual tours, it became clear that private businesses had a role in supporting club work. In 1921, Noble took a leave of absence from Armour to organize the National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work, which had its first meeting in Chicago.

The first few years the committee struggled but gained financial support from the Chicago Board of Trade and Montgomery Ward built momentum. In 1923 it was suggested that the annual tour in Chicago be designated as a "club congress." That year 1,600 youth attended, which overwhelmed the event and led to a limit of not more than 50 per state. National 4-H Congress continues to this day, having convened in Chicago for many years. Noble retired from the Committee in 1958. The Committee merged with the National 4-H Foundation to form National 4-H Council.

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Jessie Field Shambaugh

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 10:47 AM

Jessie Field ShambaughJessie Field Shambaugh - School Superintendent: Page County, Iowa (1906-1915)

4-H Efforts: Organized Boys Corn Clubs and Girls Home Clubs as school teacher in1901. Started clubs in every school in Page County (130 schools) as County Superintendent beginning 1906. Organized camps for boys and girls.

Honors: Author of Country Girl Creed; Designed 3-Leaf Clover Pin used as award medal for club work. "The motto for all our clubs was: TO MAKE OUR BEST BETTER. All the club activities were fine and were meant to enrich country living. I am sure that farm life took on a new meaning throughout the county because of them."

Jessie Field Shambaugh is called the "Mother of 4-H." She started after-school clubs in 1901 while teaching at Goldenrod School in Page County, Iowa. When she became County School Superintendent in 1906, she organized Boys Corn Clubs and Girls Home Clubs in all 130 country schools. Students developed their Head, Heart, and Hands in her 3-H Clubs that included camps, exhibitions and judging contests.

Her efforts gained national attention from educators and reporters. She hosted the U.S. Commissioner of Education and state superintendents as they toured Page County clubs in 1909. She designed the 3-leaf clover pin to reward 3-H project winners and wrote the Country Girls Creed. Jessie Field Shambaugh's vision and pioneer spirit led to 4-H clubs nationwide.

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Paul C. Taff

Posted on 04/06/2011 at 10:30 AM

Paul TaffPaul C. Taff - Assistant Extension Director and State Club Leader, Iowa State Extension

4-H Efforts: Began 4-H affiliation as a member of "Uncle Henry Wallace's Corn Club Boys" in 1903. As an Associate & Extension Professor, wrote 4-H club circulars and was in charge of state junior corn shows. Appointed Assistant Extension Director in 1917 and State Club Leader in 1919. During his tenure, the Iowa 4-H Foundation was started and land was purchased for the Iowa 4-H Camping Center. Served with National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Club Camp. Led an IFYE trip to Europe in 1951. Helped with research for The 4-H Story (Reck, 1951), worked on collecting 4-H club records at USDA, organized National 4-H Foundation records and prepared Iowa 4-H history records for the Iowa State University library.

Paul Taff joined a boys Corn Club in 1903 that sparked a career in 4-H and Extension. At age 17, he enrolled in a farming short course at Iowa State College. He returned in 1905 & 1906 and earned the highest exam scores. Prof. Perry Holden hired him to assist with the short courses and demonstration work. Taff enrolled at ISC, while also working for Extension and ISC, earning a B.S. in 1913. Hired as an Associate & Extension Professor, he wrote 4-H club circulars about growing crops and was in charge of state junior corn shows. In 1915 he accompanied 43 Iowa corn club county winners to the Panama-Pacific Exposition. Appointed as Assistant Extension Director in 1917 and State Club Leader in 1919, he served in both positions until retiring in 1952.

Taff joined the National 4-H Congress advisory committee in 1922 and was superintendent in 1923-1937. He received a citation at the 50th National Congress as the only person to attend all 50. Taff was also involved with National 4-H Club Camp. Taff led 54 youth from 34 states in 1951 on an International Farm Youth Exchange trip to Europe, visiting 14 countries. He was granted an audience with Pope Pius XII and discussed 4-H work. An avid historian, Taff helped to research The 4-H Story (Reck, 1951), a history of 4-H club work; worked with Gertrude Warren on collecting 4-H club records at USDA; organized National 4-H Foundation records; and prepared Iowa 4-H history records.

Quote: Rural youth of today have all the common conveniences of their urban counterparts and are just as
sophisticated. But their advantage is the open air, the sense of being part of nature, and the routine of hard work
that they enjoy on the farm.

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