OARDC’s Steve Slack inducted into USDA’s NIFA Hall of Fame

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Dr. Steve Slack
Dr. Steve Slack, retired director OARDC, Wooster (Ken Chamberlain photo)

WOOSTER, Ohio — Steve Slack, director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), has been inducted into the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Created in 2009, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The country’s largest university agbiosciences research center, OARDC is the research arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio University.

Established in 2014, the NIFA Hall of Fame recognizes contributions to NIFA and the land-grant university system as well as activities that “support … our nation’s food, agriculture, natural resource and human sciences enterprise,” according to the institute’s website.

Career contributions

Slack was recognized for “advancing agricultural research and extension throughout his more than 40 years of faculty and administrative service,” according to NIFA.

“The state-federal partnership, as exemplified by NIFA and our land-grant universities, benefits society through significant impacts that scale from local to national,” Slack said. “Therefore, to be recognized by our federal partner is a singular honor to me.”

The induction ceremony took place Oct. 22 in Washington, D.C.

Plant pathologist

Slack joined OARDC in 1999 after serving as chair of the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University, where he was also the Henry and Mildred Uihlein Professor of Plant Pathology. Before that, he was a faculty member in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

During his tenure at Ohio State, Slack has been in charge of research administration for one of the university’s largest colleges as well as management of OARDC’s Wooster campus and 10 outlying research stations across the state.

Slack is a fellow and past president of the American Phytopathological Society, an honorary life member and past president of the Potato Association of America, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has also provided leadership to several boards and sections of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, including two terms on the policy board of directors.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and his doctorate from the University of California-Davis.

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