Montana State University

Cruzado tapped to speak at national higher education leadership conference

August 27, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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Montana State University President Waded Cruzado has been selected to present the 2012 Seaman A. Knapp Memorial Lecture in memory of "The Father of Extension," at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' annual meeting set Nov. 12 in Denver, Colo.

The APLU is a research and advocacy organization of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and state university systems with member campuses in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The Seaman A. Knapp Lecture is one of three rotating lectures presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and APLU honoring three historic land-grant university figures: Seamen A. Knapp, Justin Smith Morrill, and William Henry Hatch. Nominations to deliver the lecture are submitted by the land-grant university system, stakeholders, foundations, public interest groups and international organizations.

Knapp's success as a national leader of the Farm and Home Demonstration System helped bring about the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which resulted in the creation of the Cooperative Extension Service in every state.

Sonny Ramaswamy, director of NIFA, said that the Knapp principle of demonstration education involved more than just a new teaching method.

"It represented a deep insight into the motivation and commitment of people," Ramaswamy said. "Cruzado's lecture will remind us of the role Cooperative Extension has played - and will play - to help farmers, ranchers, consumers, families and communities find science-based solutions to the challenges they face."

Cruzado said she was honored to have been invited to deliver the Knapp Memorial Lecture.

"I had the good fortune to graduate from a land-grant university and have spent much of my professional life at wonderful land-grant institutions," she said.

"As the first person in my family to attend college, I know from personal experience the role higher education plays in making dreams come true. Cooperative Extension is at the very heart of the land-grant mission and contributes meaningfully to the well-being of communities throughout the State of Montana and the nation."

Cruzado became the 12th president of MSU on Jan. 4, 2010. In less than three years she is credited with significantly reshaping the face and future of the state's first land-grant institution. She is recognized as an advocate for public universities, which were created through the Morrill Act 150 years ago, as well as a champion of the tripartite mission of research, teaching, and Extension, and the importance of higher education for the prosperity of our nation.

Cruzado earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Puerto Rico, which is a land-grant university, and master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Texas-Arlington. She served as interim president at New Mexico State University before accepting her current position at MSU.

Contact: Tom Calcagni (406) 994-4571, tcalcagni@montana.edu