LAS CRUCES – Jerry Schickedanz will retire Oct. 31 after more than eight years as dean of New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Home Economics and 31 years with the Cooperative Extension Service.
As dean, Schickedanz oversaw doubling of grant funding for the statewide Extension Service, which serves residents in every county. Under his leadership, the college's endowment fund increased by 250 percent. He presided over dedications for three new buildings: the copper-domed Skeen Hall, home to high-tech laboratories; an Equine Education Center for horse programs; and Wooton Hall, campus headquarters for U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists.
"Whether it is helping people make the transition from welfare to work, teaching good parenting or helping people live with diabetes, it is concern for the people of our state that has fueled our growth, and it will fuel our growth in the future," Schickedanz said in his retirement speech.
Collaboration was a hallmark of Schickedanz’s term. Milestones included an expanded FFA program headquartered at NMSU, new funding for a rodeo coach and scholarships, renewal of collegiate judging programs and NCAA status for a women's equestrian team.
He received standing ovations from packed floors and galleries in the House and Senate chambers at the state capitol in February.
Schickedanz began his career as an Extension agent in Greenlee County, Ariz. He joined NMSU in 1976 as an Extension range specialist. He co-founded the Range Improvement Task Force, which has been called a national model for its research-based approach to public land issues, and supported task forces that tackled water issues and competitiveness of the chili industry.
After serving as associate dean and Extension director, Schickedanz became interim dean in 1997. He was confirmed in the position in 2000.
He won a Secretary's Honor Award for Public Service from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in 2001 for serving rural Hispanic and American Indian populations. He was awarded an Honorary American FFA degree, and recognized as a Friend of 4-H and NMSU Outstanding Centennial Alumnus.
The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau honored him as a Distinguished Service winner and the New Mexico Cattle Growers presented him with an Extraordinary Service Award.
He has served on the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum Board since 1992.
He earned a doctorate in range management from the University of Arizona in 1974 and master's in range management from NMSU in 1970.
Fellow alumni, colleagues and friends are contributing to an endowed scholarship named for Schickedanz and his wife, Dale. For more information about the Schickedanz scholarship fund, contact Barbara Wise, development officer, at (505) 646-4136.