MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mildred Fizer and the late John Oliver “J. O.” Knapp, renowned West Virginia University educators and program leaders, were inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame April 11, at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
Agent-pioneer. Knapp, who died in 1965, is praised for being a pioneer in developing the National 4-H Center and incorporating the National 4-H Club Foundation. A former chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, Knapp participated with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the dedication of the national center in 1959.
Knapp Hall, located on WVU’s downtown campus, is named in his honor.
He began his career with the WVU Extension Service in 1917 as a county agent and concluded it in 1961 as the statewide system’s director.
Gladys Knapp, a resident of Morgantown, participated in the induction ceremony on behalf of her husband.
Fizer. Similar to Knapp, Fizer also began her WVU Extension career as an agent. A Morgantown resident for almost 50 years, Fizer started with Extension in 1946 as a 4-H agent in Cabell County.
In 1953, she moved from a county-based position to administrative duties as the State 4-H Girls Club agent. In 1966, Fizer stepped into the national spotlight when she became the first woman in the nation to direct a state 4-H program.
After her retirement from WVU in 1978, Fizer continued to work with the West Virginia 4-H Foundation. One of her career’s greatest contributions came during this volunteer period, when she helped guide the foundation through its largest growth and through its merger with the WVU Foundation.
The National 4-H Hall of Fame is a coordinated by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.
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