Number CLVI The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi July 2020

Acknowledging the Past and Learning Wisdom
Mike Knutz, National ESP President

Abraham Lincoln said, "Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be avenged." These words are a good lesson for us today in light of the racial tension that America is still struggling with. They are also relevant to the history of the Land Grant University System. Like a lot of history, the bad parts are often left out. In an article published April 8, 2020 in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I was surprised to learn that the federal land granted to states came largely from unratified treaties where Native Americans were forced to sign and give up tribal lands at little to no compensation. The Morrill Act took 10.7 million acres of Indigenous land from 245 tribal nations using over 160 violence-backed treaties and land seizures to the benefit of Fifty-two universities. The article, “Why New Research Calls Some Flagships ‘Land-Grab Universities’

I share this with you because it’s important that we know our history and be able to acknowledge the wrongs committed against marginalized populations. Upon learning this information, I sent an email to my Director of Extension asking what acknowledgement has our institution made and to what extent was its granted land illegally gained from Native Americans? My hope is that institutions will be transparent with its unflattering history and take steps to extend benefits of our LGU bounty to Native Americans. Barry Dunn, President of South Dakota State University advises, “The first step is understanding and acknowledging your history, and then the second step is committing yourself to the principles on which the land-grant system was founded.” SDSU has dedicated more than ½ million dollars annually to support indigenous students. I encourage you to follow the sage advice of Barry Dunn and continue to make a positive impact through your work and staying true to the principles of the LGU system. I would also encourage you to ask questions to your administration regarding what if any role your university may have benefited from unethical treatment of Native Americans.

The success of today’s LGU System and the Extension Service is worthy of celebration. I believe in the mission of the LGU system and how it has provided upward mobility to working class people through the opportunity of higher education. The Extension System furthers this mission by extending knowledge and changing lives through research and programs that engage communities across our nation. Serving as the front door to the university, Extension audiences often get their first introduction to the LGU. As Extension professionals, we can uphold the values expressed through the Extension Professional’s Creed, “that education, of which Extension is an essential part, is basic in stimulating individual initiative, self-determination, and leadership; that these are the keys to democracy and that people when given facts they understand, will act not only in their self-interest, but also in the interest of society." 

More extensive research details at: 

2020 ESP National (Virtual) Conference - October 6 thru October 8, 2020

We hope that you will make plans to attend the online 2020 ESP National Conference.

On June 23, 2020 the National Board made the decision to cancel the in-person conference due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Please hold October 6-8 for a virtual conference.

Planning for a virtual conference has already begun and a schedule will be released soon.  We hope that the virtual format will allow for even more members to participate this year.

Tuesday - Thursday, October 6-8, 2020
Tentative start time each day:  11:30 am EST / 10:30 am CST / 9:30 am MST / 8:30 am PST
Tentative end time each day:  5:00 pm EST / 4:00 pm CST / 3:00 pm MST / 2:00 pm PST

Watch for detailed schedule and registration information soon.


2020 Distinguished Service Ruby Recipient 

Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen has been selected to receive the 2020 National Ruby Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, the national honor society for extension professionals.

The National Ruby Award is the most prestigious recognition presented by ESP and recognizes truly outstanding thinking, performance and leadership in extension. Wintersteen was nominated by Iowa State’s ESP Alpha Mu Chapter. She will receive the award in October at the 2020 National ESP (Virtual) Conference, where she also will deliver the Ruby Lecture.

“I am truly honored to have been nominated by my friends and colleagues in ISU Extension and Outreach and to be recognized at the national level by my extension peers,” Wintersteen said.

“We are pleased that President Wintersteen will be recognized with this national award. As an extension professional she has made highly significant contributions at the state, regional, national and international level over her entire career,” said Barbara Dunn Swanson, chair of the ESP Alpha Mu Chapter.

Wintersteen has served Iowa State for more than 40 years in several capacities. She began her extension career as an integrated pest management specialist in eastern Iowa. She earned her PhD while working as an extension associate, and as a faculty member led the Pesticide Safety Education Program. She served as director for Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In addition, she served as endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station for 11 years before being chosen as Iowa State University president in 2017.

“Through ever-increasing accomplishments and responsibilities, President Wintersteen has maintained her extension soul. She understands extension’s vital role in the land-grant mission and cares deeply for the people delivering on that promise,” Dunn Swanson said.

Contact: Barbara Dunn Swanson, Chair, ESP Alpha Mu Chapter, Iowa State University,


ESP UCDA Affinity Group partners with 4-H Program Leaders Working Group 

Alyssa Bowers, Alpha Delta Chapter / Florida

The ESP Affinity Group recently began a partnership with the 4-H Access, Equity, and Belonging Committee (AEBC) under the 4-H Program Leaders Working Group.  Alyssa Bowers, 4-H agent in Pinellas County Florida and member of the ESP Urban and Culturally Diverse Audiences Affinity Group, attended the March 25th AEBC meeting on behalf of ESP. 

The AEBC’s Purpose, as stated on their webpage is “to support the 4-H System to reach its National 4-H Grows: A Promise to America’s Kids Vision. In 2025, 4-H will reflect the population demographics, vulnerable populations, diverse needs and social conditions of the country. This vision has the elements of inclusion, caring adults, serving at minimum 1 in 5 youth, and the volunteers and staff reflect the diversity of the population. This Committee aims to increase the capacity of 4-H and the Cooperative Extension System to meet this opportunity and to create a more inclusive organizational culture” (AEBC, 2020). 

In support of AEBC’s purpose, multiple Champion Groups have been created that work with specific audiences.  The groups and more info about the work for each group can be found here: .  Each Champion Group is tasked with creating resources for educators in Extension to work with diverse audiences.  ESP was invited to partner with AEBC to help them promote access, equity, and belonging work in all of Extension and Extension’s Professional Organizations.  AEBC has a fantastic list of resources, such as logic models, grant opportunities, and so much more that can be found here: .  We look forward to a great partnership between ESP and the Access, Equity, and Belonging Committee! Click here to learn more about the ESP Urban and Culturally Diverse Audiences Affinity Group 


ESP Members make connections in the Philippines
Global Relations Committee

In order to learn more about Extension abroad and make connections with program administrators, practitioners and academics in the field, 12 ESP members from four chapters traveled to the Philippines to participate in the first International Extension Professional Development program.

Twelve U.S. participants in the International Extension Professional Development Program
with hosts from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, College of Human Ecology

Sponsored by ESP’s National Global Relations Committee and hosted by Utah’s Iota Chapter, the program was coordinated by the office of Global Engagement at Utah State University in conjunction with the Office of International Linkages at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.

While in the Philippines March 5-14, 2020, the group discussed program priorities with national Extension leaders in Manila, attended presentations by faculty who lead local, regional and national Extension initiatives, observed a cooking demonstration of traditional Filipino food, learned about rice breeding from an American researcher working at the International Rice Research Institute, networked with academics and students from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and presented a symposium on Extension work in the United States and how it can connect to Extension work in the Philippines.

“International work is important for Extension because we learn different and sometimes better ways to deliver Extension programs,” said Justen Smith, a member of Utah’s ESP Chapter and past-president of the ESP National Board. “We live in a global society and Extension faculty participating in these experiences learn to appreciate cultural diversity and broaden their understanding of the needs of other cultures.”

Program participants, Peggy Compton, (WI), Christy Fitzpatrick (CO), and Mark Nelson and Celina Wille (UT) presented “Developing Cultural Competency: Lessons Learned from a Philippines Study Program" as part of ESPs 2020 webinar series. The recording is available from ESP's homepage (scroll to the bottom).

A comprehensive program evaluation was conducted the program evaluation summary is available for viewing.  


Welcome to our new National Board Members

Daphne Richards, Alpha Zeta Chapter, has been elected as the 2nd Vice President of the National Epsilon Sigma Phi Board of Directors. A member of ESP since 2000, Daphne currently serves as the Southern Region Vice President and as the Chair for the National Marketing Committee. She served as the President of the Alpha Zeta Chapter as well as Chair of the Alpha Zeta Chapter Global Relations Committee. The 2nd Vice President begins a four-year appointment serving as President during their third year. Congratulations Daphne!!

The National ESP Board also welcomes two new regional vice presidents.

Both positions will serve a two-year term.

Chad Proudfoot joins the national board as the Southern Region Vice President. Chad was inducted into ESP in 2016 while working in West Virginia. During his time as a member of the Phi Chapter, Chad served as Membership Chair, Treasurer and chaired rewriting of the chapter bylaws. In 2018, Chad took a position with Virginia Cooperative Extension and transferred his membership to the Alpha Gamma Chapter where he currently serves as the Extension Specialist representative to the Executive Board.

The North Central Vice President position will be filled by Jennifer Wilson. Jennifer has been a member of the Alpha Rho Chapter since 2000 and currently serves as the Chapter President. She has served in multiple roles on the Chapter level including; President-elect, Treasurer, Annalist/Historian, Annual Recognition Banquet Committee Chair, ESP 80th Anniversary Committee Chair and ESP Endowment Board Member. On the National level, Jennifer was co-chair for the 2018 ESP National Conference.

Congratulations Jennifer and Chad!!


Past Presidents support the ESP Development Fund
David S. Ross, Member National Resource and Development Committee 

Twenty-six ESP Past Presidents came forward last November 2019 to create the Past Presidents Matching Challenge to encourage member giving to reach the ESP Development Fund Goal of $500,000.  These strong supporters of ESP gave $7,225.00 to match member and chapter donations.  Fifty-eight members, six chapters (ID, IL, IN, OH, OR, TN) and one family foundation responded with $13,259 in donations.  From November 14, 2019 until April 30, 2020 a total of $20,484 was given to the ESP Development Fund.  This brought the Development Fund to $515,913.70.  For 2020 the Development Fund provided $36,000 in program support.

The twenty-six past presidents who participated and who are thanked are: Della Baker, Ann Berry, Mark Blevins, Pat Buchanan, Ellen Burton, William Braden, Elizabeth Claypoole, Cassandra Corridon, Nancy Crago, Clarence Cunningham, Patricia Dawson, Madeleine Greene, Duane Johnson, Laurel Kubin, James Lindquist, Bonnie McGee, Jeffrey Myers, Robert Ohlensehlen, Patricia Powley, Mark Stillwell, Faye Strickler, Deborah Thomason, Kathleen Tweeten, Gale VandeBerg, Margaret Viebrock, and Bernadette Watts.

I call on you to remember ESP in your giving.  To give, send a check payable to ESP Development Fund to:  ESP National Office, 55 Walton Place Dr., Newnan, GA 30263, or go online to:

Development Campaign Surpasses Goals
Karen Reddersen, Chair, National Resource Development and Management Committee 

ESP kicked off the 2021 Development Fund Campaign on June 1 after finishing an outstanding year.  The 2020 Development Fund Campaign ended on May 30, 2020 with $31,760 in donations. The ESP Development Fund now has $515,913 in restricted funds to act as an endowment for future grants and scholarships. 

ESP ended the 2019 conference just $4,570 short of our $500,000 goal.  ESP Past Presidents organized after the conference to create a challenge that pushed us over our goal this spring. Much appreciation should be given to this dedicated group for their continued support of ESP.  

2020 Donation Campaign Year

June 1. 2019 - May 30, 2020

Donation Source

 Donation Amount

 Total Endowment

 Goal to $500,000

June 1, 2019 Campaign Start



June 1 to Pre-Conference




Conference 2019




2019 Auction Proceeds



 $ 4,570.30

Past President’s Challenge



Total 2020 Campaign Totals

 $ 31,760.70


over goal

Upcoming Webinar 

This will be the last webinar of the series. Be sure to register at the ESP Webinar page.

AUGUST 25:  Social Marketing Principles to Increase Behavior Change Among Extension Clients

Presented by: Laura Warner and Dr. Lisa Krimsky, Alpha Delta Chapter, Florida

Social marketing is the application of commercial marketing tools that can promote behavior change benefiting the community and the individual Extension client. This webinar will provide an overview of social marketing and provide Extension professionals with tools they can begin using right away to promote behavior change.

Previous webinars can be viewed by visiting the ESP Homepage.


This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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