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UTIA Takes Home Top Honors at National Agriculture Convention

BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture brought home numerous honors from the recent National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association (NAADA) Conference. UTIA was recognized in the publications and project award competition including three first place and four second place honors for work in video, digital and print. Advancement Director for the Institute, Tom Looney, was recognized with the PeliCan award for assisting his team whenever needed and displaying a can-do attitude. 

Jim and Judi Herbert were recognized for their record of sustained giving to support agriculture and agricultural higher education. Jim Herbert, a 1962 animal husbandry graduate, is the cofounder of Neogen Corporation, a company that is leading the industry in rapid diagnostic testing and focuses on the development, manufacturing and marketing of products for food and animal safety. Judi Herbert is a 1963 graduate in English with a 19-year-long career history with the women’s clothing company Doncaster. 

In 2018, the couple established the Herbert College of Agriculture Strategic Endowment that marks one of the largest gifts to the university in its 224-year history and strategically positions the college for future success.  

The University renamed the college as the Herbert College of Agriculture in April that year in honor of the couple’s transformational support. UT now houses the second-ever agricultural college among land-grant universities named from a philanthropic gift. The Herberts’ history of philanthropic support at UT extends to their first year as alumni.

The couple has received numerous honors at the University including the 2016 UT Philanthropists of the Year. Jim Herbert received the University’s first-ever honorary doctorate of agriculture in 2016.

Mark Wilson, a 1976 animal science graduate, was recognized by the agricultural association, not only for his philanthropic support of the UT Institute of Agriculture, but also for the volunteer and leadership support he has shown over the years. 

The former senior vice president of financial services at Farm Credit Mid-America, Wilson has been instrumental in solidifying the corporate relationship between Farm Credit and the UT Herbert College of Agriculture. He was instrumental in establishing the Farm Credit Scholars program in 2012, which provides UT students with financial assistance as well as enhanced learning opportunities. 

Wilson is the 2019 Herbert College of Agriculture Distinguished Alumnus and has served on numerous boards at the University, Tennessee 4-H, and for the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Beyond his personal support and volunteer efforts, Mark has become a leader by example and encouragement for others to invest in the institute and college.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu​.

Media Contact

Lauren Vath

UTIA Advancement


Tom Looney
Jim Herbert
Judi Herbert
Mark Wilson