Awards of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
CAAS takes great pride in the standard of excellence it has established for over 100 years. Each year the college recognizes several members who have gone above and beyond the norm to continue to make the college a place of increased quality and merit.
2018-2019 Award Recipients
Kenna McMurray is an advocate for agricultural literacy. She grew up in Logandale, Nevada, where she raised sheep and goats and was president of her local 4-H and FFA chapters. She graduated from Moapa Valley High School in 2013, where she served as captain of the debate team and cross country team, competed in swimming, soccer, and basketball, and played the violin in school and community orchestras.
Kenna has the desire to make the world a better place and is a passionate believer in the future of agriculture. She wants to raise awareness about agricultural issues and to forge links between agricultural and broader public communities. To help her achieve this goal, she chose to attend Utah State and earn a dual major in agricultural communications and journalism, with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in marketing. During her time at USU, she served on the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Council, participated in undergraduate research, interned in various communication and USU Extension positions, worked as a freelance journalist, and served as president of the Agricultural Communication Club where she had the honor of receiving a national award on behalf of the chapter. She is an avid runner and swimmer and has competed in a triathlon, half marathon, and several other races throughout Utah and Nevada. She was also active in the Logan Institute and served an LDS mission for 18 months in Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, where she gained a deep love for the culture and people of eastern Europe.
Kenna is the second of five children and is the daughter of Sean and Maggie McMurray. She has truly loved her time at Utah State and appreciates the many opportunities she has had to learn and grow. She plans to further her education by pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural extension education in the fall. She is engaged to fellow USU student Taylor Kesler, and excited to be getting married a few weeks after graduation.
Alumni & Friends of CAAS Awards
Vern Jensen Budge grew up in rural Idaho, doing his part in the family beekeeping business: an undertaking that requires focusing as much attention on natural surroundings as on the bees themselves.
“I was working outside all the time,” he says. “That’s probably where I got my attraction to landscapes.”
After high school graduation, Budge left Malad to attended Snow College where he played football for 2 years before serving an LDS mission in what was then called the Western States Mission. He enrolled in engineering at Utah State University, but transferred to landscape architecture, graduating in 1965. Graduate school took Budge away from the familiar landscapes of the West to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his master’s degree in urban planning and architecture in 1968. Later that year, he returned to USU as a part-time instructor and was eventually offered a full time faculty position. He invested the next 35 years in the department and its students, and retired in 2003.
Budge recalls the 1970s as a period of rapid change in landscape architecture―the department and the profession―as greater environmental awareness took hold, fueled by the publishing of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The advent of computers becoming more accessible, and then ubiquitous, helped drive a shift from site planning to large-scale environmental planning. The department attracted students from all over the United States and Canada. As years went by enrollment in the department trended toward more in-state students, but the accreditation of a master’s degree in landscape architecture drew more national and international students who brought a wide range of experiences and aesthetic sensibilities to the creative and collaborative program.
Budge recalls the early years of the department, when it was housed in USU’s Mechanical Arts Building (demolished in 1984). It was situated on a beautiful site south of Old Main, but the building itself was falling apart.
“So they didn’t much care what we did with it,” Budge says. “Some students painted the walls whatever color they wanted and others enjoyed repeatedly throwing a javelin into one of the decaying walls. We enjoyed being on that corner of the campus and having a view across the Quad. There were a lot of activities on the Quad, and we had a lot of football games after class out there. In fact, we as a faculty liked to join in. It was a lot of fun. We had a good time with the students and enjoyed being with them. The faculty wasn't that much older than the student body at that time.”
“We were in the classroom with our students for 4 years―sitting next to them and visiting with them, working with them, and going on trips with them. They became like family. That was a huge plus for the department over those many years, and as a result the students felt a personal connection with the university and the department. I think it was unique at the time, and I hope that environment continues at the present time. They were great, great days.”