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K-State Today

March 18, 2011

Regents approve President Emeritus status for Duane C. Acker

By Julie Fosberg

The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a request from Kansas State University to award emeritus status to the university's 11th president, Duane C. Acker. He led K-State from July 1, 1975, to June 30, 1986.

"The title 'President Emeritus' recognizes President Acker's 11 years of service to the university," said K-State President Kirk Schulz. "We are pleased the Board of Regents saw fit to bestow this honor."

At two different times during his K-State presidency, Acker's leadership strategies resulted in two new building projects going on at the same time. Acker wrote a book about his K-State years, "Two at a Time," which tells about the life of a state university president and the challenges and satisfactions of the presidency. During those years, he served -- from 1983 to 1986 -- as an appointee of President Ronald Reagan on the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development.

His career included serving as associate dean of agriculture and director of resident instruction at K-State, 1962-66; then dean of agriculture and biological sciences and director of extension and the experiment station at South Dakota State University, 1966-74; and vice chancellor for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1974-75. Prior to his first employment at K-State, Acker taught and conducted research in animal science at Oklahoma State University and Iowa State University.

In 1992 he was named an assistant secretary of agriculture for science and education by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and oversaw four USDA agencies responsible for agricultural research and education. Prior to that appointment, in 1991 he was administrator of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and in 1991 administrator of the Office of International Cooperation and Development. Acker has been a director of the U.S. Council on Agricultural Science and Technology, chair of the U.S. Deans of Agriculture, chair of the agriculture section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, president of Gamma Sigma Delta, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Commission on Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources. Acker has reviewed food and agricultural programs in more than 20 countries.

He and his wife, Shirley, live in Atlantic, Iowa.