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K-State Today

November 20, 2013

Lavis honored with Excellence in Irrigation Education award

Submitted by Linda Oppy

Dr. Cathie Lavis, Associate Professor

The Irrigation Foundation has named Cathie Lavis, associate professor of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources, as the recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Education Award. Lavis was honored during the Irrigation Show General Session at the 2013 Irrigation Show and Education Conference on Nov. 7 in Austin, Texas.

The Excellence in Irrigation Education Award recognizes an educator who is actively teaching irrigation, water management and/or water conservation in affiliation with a two- or four-year institution. The award honors academics that are playing a critical role in developing educated professionals with the knowledge and skills to create efficient irrigation solutions that will protect water and the environment.

Lavis has been an unwavering supporter of educating the landscape irrigation industry’s future work force. In addition to providing her students with a firm understanding of and appreciation for sustainable landscape irrigation practices, Lavis has worked closely with the Irrigation Foundation for more than a decade to develop standardized course materials for a national college audience.

According to Lavis, her approach combines rigor with hands-on learning that results in students prepared to work in an industry that faces looming water issues while creating environments that benefit us all.

Lavis’ contributions to the irrigation industry were highlighted in award nominations submitted by Tom Warner, former head of the department of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources, and Michael Fitzgerald, a graduate of the program who is now with John Deere Landscapes in Colorado Springs, Colo. He said he submitted the nomination because he benefited greatly from both Lavis’ classes and her role as his academic advisor.

Fitzgerald’s nomination specifically recognized Lavis’ Landscape Irrigation Systems course, which stressed important issues, such as water conservation and efficiency, by using the highest level of technology available. Fitzgerald also credited Lavis for partnering with industry firms to provide materials to teach students the latest trends in the industry.