Number CLVIII The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi November 2020

President's Message
Peggy Compton, National ESP President

I am honored to be writing to you as the 62nd President of Epsilon Sigma Phi. To learn more about me and the ESP experiences that have led me to and prepared me for this role, I’ve recorded a short message for you: To learn more about our organization, you need to look no further than our website “Archives” page and the Governing Documents in Section O of the Handbook:

The constitution states that the purpose of Epsilon Sigma Phi includes providing opportunities for networking, fellowship and collaborative efforts; fostering leadership development; facilitating professional development; and recognizing excellence. These are still at the heart of our organization today! In fact, a 2019 member survey identified professional development and leadership opportunities, networking, and strengthening the extension system as ESP priorities for 2019-2022.

I love that ESP has been steadfast in its purpose over the decades. Yes, we have and will need to continue to change how we accomplish our purpose, but that purpose remains the same.

ESP facilitates Networking, Fellowship and Collaboration in our chapters and nationally. We hear frequently in surveys that members value the family-like atmosphere of our association and we as your national leaders will work hard to maintain this great attribute of ESP.

ESP fosters Leadership Development! As you heard in my video greeting, my ESP journey started with serving on my chapter’s Resource Development Committee and it grew into so much more from there as I gained experience, confidence and skills. Opportunities abound if you take the leap to get involved in your chapter committees and leadership or nationally with affinity and interest groups, committees and the national board. 

ESP members give, receive, and support Professional Development! Share your skills with others by presenting a conference session or a webinar AND learn from other members by attending their webinars and sessions. The 28th Annual ESP National Conference looked a bit different this year as an all virtual conference, but the upside was that more members than ever (nearly 400) participated in our National Conference! ESP members support professional development not only with their time and talent, but also with financial contributions. Last year we reached the goal of $500,000 in member contributions to the ESP Endowment which supports member scholarships and grants.

And, lastly, throughout the decades, we have continued to Recognize Excellence in our chapters, in our members, and in our Friends of Extension. This year, as in the past, the Distinguished Ruby Award was presented during the National Conference. As a sign of the times, Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, President, Iowa State University, accepted this highest ESP honor and delivered the Ruby Lecture via a pre-recorded video, but we were captivated none-the-less by her inspirational message and her passion for Extension.  Watch it here:

Equally as inspirational were these words from Wisconsin’s Dr. Gale VandeBerg, delivered as part of his 1982 Ruby Lecture (which I’m sure was not pre-recorded and delivered via Zoom ) and still so true today.

“Perhaps the most significant quality of this profession which brings about the family-like response among us is that it generates in each of us such a deep commitment to people--to helping people to develop and to make decisions--decisions which result in people's personal and financial well-being--decisions which result in positive family relationships and in positive community environments and community economic well-being. It is that commitment which causes our profession to become for us a way of life rather than a way of making a living. And that is why we take such pride in this profession and professional family fraternity. It can and will be what we individually and collectively want it to be as an enhancement to our profession and its many facets.”

I look forward to working with you this year as we make ESP what we want it to be as an enhancement to our profession.


Scholarships and Grants December Deadline

Jennifer Wilson, Chair, Scholarships, Grants and Recognition Committee

The following applications are due December 1. Do you have a program or professional development that needs funding? Do you need travel support to PILD or the 2021 ESP Conference in Georgia?  Don't let this opportunity pass by without your participation. Additional conference scholarships are also available in the spring. Please check the Awards section on the ESP Website for information on all scholarships and grants.

PILD Scholarship (Due December 1, 2020)

Epsilon Sigma Phi, through the ESP Development Fund, has established this scholarship for eligible members to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development National Conference in order to become informed about and develop skills in responding to public issues and legislative matters affecting Extension programs and personal needs. The scholarship is to be used to defray the cost of attending the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference. Four scholarships of $600.00 each will be awarded annually.

Angus Professional Development Scholarship (Due December 1, 2020)

Epsilon Sigma Phi, through the ESP Development Fund, provides $4,000 annually to fund scholarships not to exceed $1,000 per member to encourage, stimulate, and support professional development through participation in courses, seminars, conferences or workshops.

There is currently a proposal working through committee to raise the amount of this scholarship to $1000. The proposed 2020 budget would increase the overall funding to $4000.  Stay tuned for possible changes in this scholarship.

Professional Development Programming Grant (Due December 1, 2020)

The purpose of the Epsilon Sigma Phi Professional Development Grant is to stimulate development of Extension professionals. Grants will be awarded to interdisciplinary teams to plan and conduct a project with an appeal to a broad audience of Extension professionals. Through the ESP Development Fund, funding for at least four $1,000 grants is available annually and will be awarded through a competitive process.

Rita T Wood Grant (Due December 1, 2020)

The Rita T. Wood Grant is intended to provide funds for one or more grants per year to individual members or chapters of Epsilon Sigma Phi for the purpose of building annual membership in ESP. Grants to a chapter may be for programs or activities supporting leadership development and chapter growth. Grants to individuals may be made for the leadership or professional development of others within ESP. An example of a fundable grant activity might be a chapter or individual member hosting a professional development workshop or engaging in a service project that increases the visibility of ESP. Award amounts may vary. Current maximum annual grant award is $1250.00.

Visit the Award Section of the ESP Website for a list of all scholarships and grants.


    National Marketing "Contest" Receives Great Response!
    Mollie Toppe, West Virginia Phi Chapter, 
    Member, National Marketing Committee

    “I feel energized, happy, motivated, and blessed to have great colleagues from across the country.” Does this make you think of ESP? How would you describe our organization?

    The Marketing Committee set out to compile images, emotions, and stories from ESP Members, and “WOW!” we received some fantastic responses. The survey was released prior to the National Conference and remained open throughout the conference. Members were encouraged to submit reasons they joined ESP and why they have remained members. Thank you to the 26 members who submitted responses to the survey.

    “Once I joined in and met the ESP folks I was hooked! I loved interacting with colleagues who were outside of my program area. ESP colleagues and friends are like family - I value their support.”

    The Marketing committee wants to “hook” other members to join the ESP family! And let everyone know just how proud our members are to be a part of our close-knit organization. So, we intend to use survey responses to make a promotional video, as well as other promotional content. Look for more info coming soon about the video. (Hint: If you haven’t followed the National ESP Facebook page, now would be a good time to do it! We’re also slowly trying to build our presence on Twitter and Instagram, so please head over there, too.) The Committee is excited to share all the responses with you very soon, we see so much potential for additional marketing pieces to support both the National Organization and local ESP Chapters.

    As a “Thank You,” five members who participated in the survey will receive something from the inventory of national marketing items. Winners (chosen from random by national marketing committee chair Daphne Richards) are Lorrie Wright (West Virginia Phi), Jehangir H. Bhadha (Florida Alpha Delta), Alexandra Coffman (West Virginia Phi), Shari Spoelman (MI Alpha Psi), and Amanda Christensen (Utah Iota). Look for something special coming to your mailbox from the National Office very soon.


    2020 Conference Recap
    ESP National Office

    The 2020 National Conference hosted by our NY Lambda Chapter was a great success.  While we may have missed some of that valuable informal networking of a national conference, this year’s professional development opportunities were as good or better than any other national conference.  A record 420 members registered to attend this year’s conference.  ESP offered outstanding speakers and a record number of concurrent sessions from members around the nation.

    Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, President of Iowa State University gave the 2020 Ruby Lecture with a style that was only enhanced by an online presentation.  Check out the ESP homepage for a link to this outstanding presentation.


    Historical Listing of ESP Distinguished Ruby Lectures

    Billy Warrick, Alpha Zeta / Texas Chapter member and our official ESP Photographer has compiled Ruby Lectures from 1988 to Present which can be found at this link. We have included his efforts in the ESP Archives section. Thank you Billy for your continued service to ESP!!


    Building Your Way To International Programs
    Tyrone Gentry, Member, Global Relations Committee 

    Professionals have many opportunities to hone their skills to better serve their communities.  The Global Relations Committee strives to provide our members' opportunities to increase their cultural competencies and global connections through international programming.  At the recent National ESP Conference, the committee shared a new “Toolbox Kit” with examples of existing international opportunities, collaborations, and resources for agents looking to bring a greater international perspective to their communities. 

    Twelve potential collaborators with links for more information are included to provide professionals a broad range of organizations involved with international educational programs.  Six specific examples of global extension impact programs have been highlighted that address local, limited cost program modifications to extensive, in-country experiences.  The resource also includes possible financial assistance options for those seeking abroad options.  For professionals looking to bring an international perspective to their professional development or community, the Toolbox Kit can be a valuable networking resource.  The free resource is available under the Global Relations Committee page in the "What We Do” section and “#3 Make Contact and Promote Collaborations with ESP and International Organizations.” 

    The Global Relations Committee welcomes professionals interested in learning more about international opportunities to complete our interest survey for occasional updates and opportunities.  The survey is also found on the committee’s web page


    2021 Development Fund Campaign is Off and Running

    David S. Ross and Joanne Cavis
    Resource Development and Management Committee

    The 2021 Development Fund Campaign Year (June 1, 2020 thru May 31, 2021) has collected $8,680.00 from June 1 to October 19, 2020.  This includes donations during and after registration for the 2020 virtual conference.  Donors of $100 or more will receive the 2020 conference pin, a collectible by which to remember the great New York hosted virtual national conference.

    Thank You Donors!!! You contributed nearly as much during the virtual conference as during a face-to-face conference!  Your support enhances future professional development opportunities.

    To donate, go to  Log in to donate online or send a check payable to ESP Development Fund to: ESP National Office, 55 Walton Place Dr., Newnan, GA 30263.  Include your contact information.

    Did you miss purchasing a pin at a past conference?  Several are still available.  Contact the National Office to check availability for the one you want.  Donate $100 or more to receive the pin.


    New National and Chapter-Specific Logos are Officially Launched!
    Daphne Richards, Chair, National Marketing Committee

    Over the summer, the national marketing committee began working to update the branding files available for use, at both the national and state levels. This included a closer look at the taglines, colors and file formats, in combination with the logo from our national website.

    For one thing, the only logo files available were .EPS files, which are designed for professional use and only accessible via specific graphic design software that most people don’t have ready access to. The webpage on the national website with information regarding branding indicated that these files could be placed into documents, whether you could open them or not. That was true when the files were created, but due to changes with other, more common software (Word, Publisher, etc.) this statement was no longer true, making the .EPS files virtually unusable.

    Because of this, many chapters may have taken a screen snip or found some other workaround, so that they could have a logo for local use. We applaud this resourcefulness! But it also led to pixelated images of our logo that were not very attractive. Personally, I first came up against this issue when I was president of my state’s chapter, and once I became chair of the national marketing committee, I resolved to address it—little did I know what a task I was undertaking! Now, a full two years later, and only due to the assistance of marketing committee member Karen Sergent, from the Tennessee Omega Chapter, do we finally have updated and accessible logo files—yippee!

    The lack of accessibility of our national logo, as well as some inspiration from the NY Lambda Chapter, sparked an opportunity to address a lingering request for state chapter-specific logos. So, the marketing committee (i.e. Karen Sergent) also went to work creating state-specific logos and we are happy to report that those logos are now available as well!

    The logos can be found in the Branding and Logos section of the national website and can be downloaded for your use. There you will find links to the ESP Logos Google Drive. In your chapter’s Google Drive folder, you will find three files: an Adobe Illustrator master document of your state’s logo files, a black high-resolution PNG and a full-color high-resolution PNG. Again, you will likely not be able to open the master document, as it is in the .EPS format, but the high resolution of this file allows for printing, imprinting and embroidery options, and should be sent for use by professional companies that specialize in creating branded merchandise. The PNG files are accessible for your personal use on websites, letterheads for electronic documents, etc., and we have provided them with a transparent background for ease in placement on any document or site. The national logo files, including the stand-alone “ESP” logo mark without any tagline, is available for download as well by navigating to the same ESP Logos Google Drive. Many chapters have used the stand-alone ESP logo (with the “P” as a key) to design specific branded merchandise, e.g. pins in the shape of their state, with the ESP “key” in the center.

    The committee is happy to provide these useful resources and hope that you find them useful in promoting your good works for years to come! If curious, the original logo still exists on the Ruby pin (presented to our Ruby award winners) as well as the wooden conference key (given to our national president at the national conference, during the year that they rotate to the role of past president).

    I can’t tell you how pleased we are to launch these logos! It was truly a labor of love for your national marketing team.

    The Branding and Logos page is located on the National ESP site under the Resources menu.


    Development Fund Financial Report - 2020 Campaign Year

    The 2020 Campaign Report prepared for the 2020 National Conference is posted on the ESP Development page under Development Fund Document & Reports. The report recognizes the fund donors for the 2020 Annual Campaign (June 1, 2019 thru May 31, 2020) and lists the Key Level Contributors.  We encourage you to look at this report.  Are you listed?  The first level is ESP Key for $250-$499 in total donations.

    Our Key Level Recognition Report lists Endowment Contributors by Level; look at it to see the donors, who are thanked for their continued donations to ESP, to reach the contribution levels shown.  We hope you will donate and climb up through the levels.  Wish to know the amount you have donated, contact David S. Ross at

    Fund Contributors in the 2020 Annual Campaign (June 1, 2019 thru May 31, 2020) includes 252 individual donations from members, chapters and a foundation totaling $31,760.70.

    Our goal for reaching $500,000 in endowed donations was achieved during the 2020 campaign when the overall total of endowed funds reached $515,913.70 (103 % of goal).  A Past Presidents’ Challenge was a major part of that effort as described on the website and donors of $100 or more will receive the 2020 conference pin.

    Giving Back: 100% of all investment income from the Development Fund is used to support the professional development of members through scholarships, grants and other professional development activities.  For the coming year, $37,028 is available.

    Endowment Contributions and Reimbursement by Chapters is also given on the website.  We encourage you to see what your chapter received and what it donated in the report on the website.

    We truly thank all members and chapters which support the Development Fund so that more professional development activities can be conducted for our membership.  We encourage all who have not contributed to include your profession in your giving at both the national and state levels.

    The ESP Development Fund is professionally managed by the investment firm of Patten & Patten in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    David S. Ross and Joanne Cavis
    Affiliate Members, Resource Development and Management Committee


    2021 ESP National Conference 
    Abbie Salmon and Allie Griner, Georgia / Alpha Beta Chapter

    In many ways, 2020 has pushed us outside our comfort zones.  Many of us who typically shopped at the grocery store now use a convenient pick-up method.  Some of us may have even attempted to learn a new skill or master a new hobby.  Also, our ability to adapt as Extension Professionals has never been so apparent.  Instead of attending face to face conferences and meetings, we have now become experts at virtual conferencing along with still serving our clientele with a smile, either behind a mask or computer screen. However, we are looking forward to returning to an in-person conference for 2021 in Savannah, Georgia.

    John A. Shedd said, "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."  As Extension Professionals, we have certainly had to sail in stormy seas recently, often encountering both challenges and opportunities. At our National Epsilon Sigma Phi Annual Conference, our professional society provides resources to help you navigate these uncharted waters. We invite you to join us for a Sea of Opportunity Anchored in Extension, October 25-28, 2021 to chart your course for the future.

    Put this date on your calendar and visit ESP Georgia 2021 for more information.


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

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