One of the most influential farm groups in Indiana agriculture is the Purdue Ag Alumni Association. For the past 28 years, Donya Lester has been the Executive Director of Purdue Ag Alumni, but this spring she announced her retirement. Don Villwock, who helped hire her originally, will chair the search committee for her replacement.
Villwock said Lester has been a major force at Purdue and for all of Indiana agriculture, “She has exceeded everyone’s expectations at every level. She is just a ball of enthusiasm, intellect, of charisma; there are not enough adjectives to describe her.” He added that she has been a blessing to Purdue and to Indiana agricugtlure.
One of Lester’s many achievements is the expansion of the annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry that, today, is one of the largest gatherings in Indiana agriculture. “We have more volunteers serving at the fish Fry than most other universities have members in their ag alumni associations,” said Villwock. Lester was instrumental in moving the event to Indianapolis and elevating it to one of the must attend events in Indiana agriculture.
Villwock told HAT, while Purdue ag alumni have helped make agriculture what it is today, the ag alumni of the future will shape what our industry will become, “When I go on campus, the passion for agriculture of these students exceeds that of alumni of the past. They are committed to Purdue. They are proud to be Boilermakers and take that charge very seriously.”