HERNDON, Va. – The PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) recently announced the recipient of its 2015 Outstanding Educator of the Year Award – Greg Davis, head of academic advising in the Horticulture, Forestry, and Recreation Resources department of Kansas State University. The award was presented March 15, at PLANET's Student Career Days event, hosted by North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.
Davis earned a bachelor's degree in ornamental horticulture, a master's degree in journalism and mass communications, and doctorate degree in ornamental horticulture from Kansas State University. He now teaches six different courses throughout the year at Kansas State, mostly in horticultural design.
Davis's interest in horticulture and landscaping stem from an ongoing love of the outdoors and a small lawn care business he had in high school, making the decision to explore horticulture in his undergraduate work evident. His hands-on approach to teaching is credited for preparing students to take on careers in the industry.
In each landscape design class he leads, Davis schedules designs for real clients in real locations, allowing his students the opportunity to meet with clients, take site measurements of their home or business, create the design for the area, and present that design to the client. He sees the value in providing students with real-world challenges and opportunities, and encourages students to seek internships in the industry.
“I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award from AEF,” said Davis. “It means a lot to me professionally because it suggests validation for our program from this industry, whose leaders I respect greatly, for what we do day-to-day to prepare students for satisfying careers.”
The Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, developed by the PLANET AEF in cooperation with the PLANET Accreditation Committee, recognizes professors who have made significant contributions to landscape industry education. Educators nominated for this award have devoted time, energy, and enthusiasm to their programs and to the education of future leaders of the industry.
Fifty-three scholarships were also presented at a special reception, sponsored by STIHL Inc., which kicked off the event March 12. In 2015 alone, the PLANET AEF has given a total of $91,100 in awards and scholarships. A list of the recipients of the PLANET AEF scholarships and awards can be found on the PLANET AEF website.
“On behalf of the entire PLANET AEF Board of Directors, we congratulate the 2015 scholarship recipients,” said Tom Fochtman, Landscape Industry Certified, PLANET AEF president. “Because of the passion that lies within these students, our industry will be that much stronger with these future leaders.”
This year's PLANET AEF President's Scholarship, in the amount of $3,000, was awarded to Matthew McKernan from Kansas State University. The President's Scholarship is awarded by the PLANET AEF judging panel, which looks for a student who demonstrates all the criteria set forth by the PLANET AEF Board of Directors and who has high scholastic achievements, industry-related activities, and community service.
At the Closing Ceremonies held March 15, the Foundation also awarded the three, highest scoring competitors, referred to as the event's Superstars, a total of $3,000: