June 12, 2020
Trudy Rice earns national community-vitality career award
Trudy Rice, the K-State Research and Extension program leader coordinator for community vitality, has been awarded the 2020 Distinguished Career Award by the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, or NACDEP.
She was featured in a video presentation on the final day of the association's virtual annual conference, which took place June 1-2.
The distinguished career award recognizes association members who are actively engaged in extension community development who have served more than seven years in extension community development programming. Rice received the Distinguished Career Award from the Kansas Association of Community Development Extension Professionals annual conference in 2019.
Nominees are rated on their work with extension colleagues, education and development, professional accomplishments, personal interest in community development, and history of earning awards for their work.
Rice began her extension career as a 4-H agent in Douglas County. After stepping away to raise her children and run a small business, she returned as a family and consumer sciences agent and, in 1999, became the county extension director.
After a decade in that role helping to develop the Lawrence community, she was named state program leader for community vitality.
Currently, the focus of her community vitality team is centered on community assessment, community organizing, community improvement, celebration and evaluation. This process is supported through the development and delivery of programs such as First Impressions, Master Community Facilitator, the Kansas PRIDE Program and many more.
The state specialist team has grown by 3.5 full-time employee specialists during her leadership through the pursuit of public/private partnerships that have raised more than $2 million.
Along with this growth in extension personnel dedicated to community vitality in Kansas, Rice was instrumental in organizing KACDEP and ensuring its formal affiliation with the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals.
Today, KACDEP serves as a catalyst for numerous efforts, both proactive and in response to emerging needs.
"Trudy lives and breathes the ideals of community development," said Gregg Hadley, director for extension in Kansas. "She is a tirelessly positive advocate for bringing people together to analyze local issues and mobilize people to work together and achieve solutions.
"If you've ever seen her orchestrate a conference room full of people to walk through an issue step by step, with everyone involved and committed to future actions — all while the meeting sticks to the announced schedule — you've seen an artist at work."
Rice's innovative work continues as the newly appointed program leader coordinator for community vitality. She, along with her PLC colleagues will coordinate an effort across the state extension system in the coming months to promote inter- and transdisciplinary programs developed by specialists across the university related to:
- Access to Opportunities, including jobs, child care, education, amenities and service.
- Farm/Market Viability.
- Mental and Physical Health.
- Community Relationships, including civic, cultural, belonging and urban/rural.
Not only does Rice promote, teach and expand the ideals of community vitality, but she also invests her own time in it by continually participating in training sessions and numerous boards and commissions in the Lawrence area where she lives.
Among the many state and national awards Rice has earned in her career are the Distinguished National Service Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, the National Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award, K-State Research and Extension Outstanding State Specialist and Builder Awards.
Marlin Bates, Douglas County extension director and past chair of KACDEP, nominated Rice for both the state and national career awards. In his nomination, he said, "Trudy is committed to her own professional development as she understands that effort in this arena serves to strengthen her team, their programming and the institutions as a whole."
Jaime Menon, the extension state leader for community vitality, said, "Trudy is an inspiration to agents and specialists alike, and her work at the local, state and national level has been phenomenal. Kansas communities are definitely more vibrant due to her contributions to K-State Research and Extension both at the state and local level. A true difference maker!"