An Ankeny couple with strong career ties to the Iowa pork and beef industries picked up the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s highest award last week.
Rich and Nancy Degner received the Alumni Medal at the alumni group’s annual Honors and Awards program on Oct. 28 in Ames. The alumni association established the award in 1948 to recognize ISU alumni for long, loyal service to the university through alumni-related activities. It is the premier award given to alumni by the ISU Alumni Association. Up to two medals are granted annually.
The Degners have spent their lives and careers advancing animal agriculture, bettering their community and supporting their beloved alma mater: Iowa State University. Their long, loyal service to Iowa State has distinguished them as invaluable resources and cherished friends.
Rich retired as the Iowa Pork Producers Association CEO and Nancy retired from her role as executive director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council last October.
She is a member of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame and has received, among other honors, the Friends Award from Iowa Family & Consumer Sciences Educators for Progress, the Impact Award from the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and the GEM Award from the Iowa Dietetics Association.
Rich, who received the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Distinguished Service Award in 2015, is a past member of the ISU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He also is a long-time board member for both the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence and the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, both of which he also has chaired.
In 2008, the couple received the George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award from the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and both have been active members of the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council. They have been inducted into the ISU Animal Science Hall of Fame. The Degners, who are both ISU Foundation governors, also are loyal and dedicated campus philanthropists. Their gifts have benefitted the College of Human Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the alumni association.
The Degners are members of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society for agriculture, and received the organization’s Alumni Award of Merit in 2006. They are ISU Alumni Association life members and sustaining life donors, as well as members of the Order of the Knoll President’s Circle.
Rich earned an ag and life sciences education degree from ISU in 1972 and a master’s in ag and life sciences education in 1977. Nancy received her food science degree from ISU in 1972.