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Sources: Don Boggs, 785-532-6151,;
and Sharon Thielen, 785-532-5121,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Monday, May 18, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's College of Agriculture recently recognized two distinguished alumni who have been actively involved in the cause of agriculture in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a 1979 K-State graduate, received the college's Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Michael Torrey, a 1986 K-State graduate, was named Outstanding Young Alumnus. The awards were presented May 9 at the Ag Alumni Awards Reception.

"These alumni have shown great leadership and service in the agricultural industry," said Fred Cholick, dean of K-State's College of Agriculture. "We are proud that they represent the college and university."

Brownback, Topeka, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, then was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. Over the years, he has been actively engaged in re-opening U.S. beef trade in Asia and increasing markets for Kansas agriculture products, while also encouraging measures to protect American farmers and food supplies. He promotes new energy sources and biotechnologies, and has worked to revitalize the rural heartland with tax incentives and job creation. Brownback was a White House Fellow in the first Bush administration and was the youngest secretary of agriculture in Kansas history. While at K-State, he was student body president. He earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from K-State and his law degree from the University of Kansas.

Torrey is a former member of the second Bush administration, serving as deputy assistant secretary for congressional relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and later as the department's deputy chief of staff. In addition, he has been special assistant to the commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, vice president of legislative affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association and has served as adviser to former presidential candidate and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and U.S. Sens. Nancy Landon Kassebaum and Sheila Frahm of Kansas. He currently is chief executive officer of Michael Torrey Associates LLC, a government relations and consulting firm. While a student at K-State, he was elected president of the college's Ag Student Council and earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural education. Torrey also was a graduate of Wamego High School.

Brownback and Torrey also were recognized at the New Graduate and Alumni Dinner that followed the reception. The awards are given by the Ag Alumni Association to recognize exceptional members.