Friday, April 27, 2012

FTF Country Coordinator awarded Texas A&M University's 2012 Distinguished International Alumnus Award

Dr. Lesdma accepting award at the Former Student Association Building
Photo Credit: Michael Smith
Dr. Rafael A. Ledesma Schoowe, the Country Coordinator for the Farmer to Farmer (FTF) program in the Dominican Republic received the prestigious Texas A&M University Outstanding International Alumnus Award from his alma mater on April 19, 2012. The reception was held at the Flores Hall of the University's Clayton W. Williams Alumni Center.

A number of school officials, including Texas A&M President, Bowen Loftin, Vice Chancellor and Dean Mark A. Hussey of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other University Administrators presented Dr. Ledesma with the award and various keepsakes.  President Loftin commended Dr. Ledesma's long standing career by hightlighting that "he has touched thousands of lives in Latin America and the Caribbean, and has maintained strong ties with his alma mater through his involvement with the Aggie Muster and as founder and President of his local A&M club in Santo Domingo."

Dr. Ledesma with University leadership
Photo Credit: Michael Smith
Dr. Ledesma a native of Baní, Dominican Republic arrived at Texas A&M University in 1968 as one of a contingent of 100 Dominican students under a USAID funded program.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Animal Science, a Master's of Science degree in Animal Science in 1970, and later a Ph.D. in Adult and Extension Education (1980).  He also has an agronomist degree from Universidad El Zamorano (1965) in Honduras.

As Country Coordinator in the Dominican Republic, Ledesma has overseen the work of over 80 volunteer specialists from the United States who have provided training to improve market competitiveness for more than 5,000 entrepreneurs and small, medium and large producers of fruits and vegetables produced in greenhouses throughout the country.

When asked about the special recognition, Dr. Ledesma said "I'm still surprised at receiving such an award and proud of representing my Dominican Aggie brothers", adding "I appreciate the generous support of many staff, specialists and researchers at Texas A&M University that have helped me throughout my career."

Dr. Ledesma and FTF Program Officer, Marcela Trask
Photo Credit: Michael Smith
In addition to his success with FTF, Ledesma has worked in Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Costa Rica and many other nations throughout the region.  He has worked on multi-million dollar projects to improve agriculture and livestock productivity, expanding markets and improving quality of life for the people of these countries.

The Outstanding International Alumnus Award was established in 1994 and is jointly sponsored by Texas A&M University, The Association of Former Students and the College of the recipient.  It honors Texas A&M graduates who were not U.S. citizens while attending the University but who went on to achieve prominence in education, science, technology, agricultue, the arts, business, humanities or government. 

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