Awards winners are (from left) Charles C. Allen III, Devan Mehrotra, Mary Denigan-Macauley, Jared Ali and Kenneth Raffa. Not pictured is award recipient H. Don Tilmon.

CANR alumni honors

CANR recognizes recipients of Worrilow, Distinguished Alumni awards


10:29 a.m., Nov. 12, 2015--Six graduates of the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) were presented with honors – the George M. Worrilow Award as well as four Distinguished Alumni Awards and a Distinguished Young Alumni Award – during a ceremony held Friday, Nov. 6, as part of Homecoming festivities.

The awards are given based on a clear record of outstanding career accomplishments, service and leadership to the profession, and community service, including service to UD.

Honors Stories

National Medal of Science

President Barack Obama recently presented the National Medal of Science to University of Delaware alumnus Rakesh Jain.

Warren Award

Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the NUCLEUS Program in UD's College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the John Warren Excellence in Leadership and Service Award during a May 26 ceremony.

George M. Worrilow Award

Charles C. Allen III was presented with CANR’s George M. Worrilow Award, named for the dean of the college from 1954-65 whose career was dedicated to better agriculture and better agricultural education.

It is given annually by the Ag Alumni Association to a graduate of the college who has exhibited outstanding service to agriculture.

Of receiving the award, Allen said he was pleasantly surprised.

Allen served as president of Allen Family Foods Inc., which was founded by his grandfather in 1919, from 1998 until 2008. Until 2011, the company was based in Seaford, Delaware, and was an industry leader and a global exporter of premium poultry products. 

At its height, Allen Family Foods packed approximately 12 million pounds of finished products per week and employed more than 3,000 people. 

The Allen family, including three generations of alumni, has long supported UD in such areas as scholarship programs and research facilities, including the Charles C. Allen Jr. Biotechnology Laboratory for poultry disease research.

On the importance of giving back, Allen said, “I’ve been fortunate and I think it’s incumbent upon those who have had good fortune and good starts in life, a good basic foundation, to give back. Some generation ahead of me gave back, I think I should do the same. I think all of us should do the same.”

Allen said that he has seen firsthand the great impact that scholarships can have on students. 

“I think it gives them encouragement. It gives them an outward vote of confidence. Somebody else believes that I can do what I’m seeking out to do. And I’ve seen it help students overcome some hurdles of self confidence,” Allen said. “That’s the reward that you get. Giving the money is easy; seeing the result of it is what you really look for. And I’ll tell you this, my exposure to students gives me faith in the future.” 

Allen served on the University of Delaware Board of Trustees from 1987 to 1993 and has been a member of the Delaware Diamonds Society since 1996. He has made several significant contributions to CANR, including gifts to the Agriculture Biotechnology Center, the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, Allen Lab, CANR Undergraduate Research, and the Cooperative Extension Program. 

Allen was honored with a place on the University’s Alumni Wall of Fame in 2006. 

From 1992-93, he was chairman of the National Chicken Council in Washington, D.C. In October of 2012, he was elected National Honorary Life Member of the Chicken Council. 

In August of 1992, Allen had the honor to meet with President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House. 

Allen received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from UD in 1971, and his son, Chad Allen, also received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from UD in 1998.

Distinguished Alumni

Mary Denigan-Macauley is an assistant director at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C., where she leads the agency’s work related to food safety and agriculture production and defense. In this role, Denigan-Macauley has led reviews of numerous federal programs to improve the safety of the nation’s food supply and to prevent, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and terrorist attacks on livestock and poultry. 

Her work helped to shape legislation and public policy in several key areas, most notably on agroterrorism. Through the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Denigan-Macualey also worked to improve government auditing of agricultural programs worldwide and enhance professional capacities. Prior to joining GAO, she taught program evaluation and comparative public policy for Troy University in Japan. 

Denigan-Macauley earned a doctorate in public policy from Arizona State University in 1997. She earned a master of dairy science degree from the University of Arizona in 1991, and a bachelor of science degree in animal science from UD in 1988. 

Devan Mehrotra

Devan Mehrotra is associate vice president of biostatistics and research decision sciences at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). He is also an adjunct associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Over the past 25 years, Mehrotra has made significant contributions toward the research, development and regulatory approval of medical drugs and vaccines across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas. In addition, he has served as a subject matter expert for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences and the International Conference on Harmonization. His recent focus has been on developing innovative approaches that leverage human genetics to enable personalized medicine. 

Mehrotra was elected an American Statistical Association Fellow in 2008 and an MRL Presidential Fellow in 2012. He earned his doctorate in statistics from UD in 1991. Mehrotra earned a master of science degree in statistics from the University of Bombay in India in 1986 and a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and statistics from St. Xavier’s College in Bombay in 1984.

Kenneth Raffa

Kenneth Raffa, Vilas Distinguished Professor, has served as forest entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, since 1985. Raffa studies population dynamics of forest insects, especially the chemical signaling involved in plant defense, predator-prey interactions and microbial symbiosis. He teaches forest entomology, plant-insect interactions and scientific presentations. Thirty-six graduate degrees have been awarded under his mentorship, and his students now hold prominent positions in universities, industry and government. 

Raffa once worked as a section research biologist at the DuPont Experimental Station, has published over 300 papers, and has won honors from the Entomological Society of America, the International Society of Chemical Ecology, the Spitze Land Grant Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. 

He has served on advisory panels addressing various natural resource issues such as invasive species, pesticides, and biotechnology for the National Research Council, U.S. Forest Service, state agencies and corporations. He has also served on grant panels for the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture, and was a subject editor for three scientific journals. 

Raffa earned a doctorate from Washington State University in 1980. He obtained a master of science degree from UD in 1974, studying biological control of gypsy moths under Roland Roth and Dale Bray. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia; he was a first generation college graduate. 

H. Don Tilmon

H. Don Tilmon began his academic career at Lynchburg College in Virginia, where he was associate professor of business administration, department chair and director of the MBA program. In 1978, Tilmon accepted the position of Cooperative Extension farm management specialist at UD’s Department of Applied Economics and Statistics (APEC). 

Tilmon, who was promoted to full professor, conducted research for the development of crop insurance for six new vegetable crop policies in Delaware, as well as provided educational programs on the topic to growers. Tilmon also worked with Delaware farmers, privately and individually, to assist them in making financial and production decisions to help manage financial stress due to the 1980s Farm Crisis. 

Tilmon served most recently as director for the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education at UD. In addition, Tilmon was the national program leader for farm management at the National Extension Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. During three separate one-year “shared faculty” assignments at USDA, he also served as the national program leader for risk management education. 

Tilmon earned a doctorate at Purdue University in 1971. He earned a master of science degree from UD in 1967, a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri in 1965, and an associate of science degree in 1963 at the School of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri.

Distinguished Young Alumni

Jared Ali

Jared Ali is an assistant professor of entomology at Michigan State University. Ali’s lab focuses on the natural defenses of plants and how plants, herbivores, and beneficial natural enemies communicate. 

Ali has authored over 20 peer reviewed journal articles, review papers, and book chapters. He has been invited to give lectures, seminars and presentations on his research at universities and professional meetings both nationally and internationally. He is a major inventor on two patents for chemical attractants for both insects and nematodes. He looks forward to establishing his career as a mentor for students from diverse backgrounds and assisting them in achieving success as future scientists. 

Ali developed a longing to explore an alternative path of knowledge while studying at private Quaker grade schools in Pennsylvania. He left high school during his junior year to travel throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Thomas Lewis’ The Lives of a Cell ultimately inspired him to study biological interactions and evolution. 

Upon earning a doctorate at the University of Florida in 2011 and receiving the Pauline O. Lawrence Award in Physiology/Biochemistry, Ali accepted an opportunity to study plant defense and multitrophic interactions in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, where he was awarded a USDA-NIFA-AFRI postdoctoral fellowship. 

Ali earned his master of science degree in entomology and applied ecology at UD in 2008 and received a bachelor of arts degree in biological sciences from the University in 2005.

Photos by Wenbo Fan

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