Chris and Joe Townsend Honored by Texas Legislature

May 26, 2009

Contact: Bill Gibbs,, 979-845-2211

COLLEGE STATION– Dr. Chris Townsend and Dr. Joe Townsend, long-time faculty members from Texas A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, have been honored by the 81st Texas Legislature with an official proclamation read into the proceedings of the legislature on May 26.

Chris Townsend is a professor and former department head in the Department of Agriculture Leadership, Education, and Communications. Her husband, Joe, is an associate professor in the same department and former associate dean of the college. Since 2008 he has been the university’s associate vice president for student affairs.

The proclamation recognizes “Dr. Joe D. Townsend and Dr. Christine Townsend as role models for educators, mentors and advocates for young people across Texas and that they be extended our sincerest appreciation for their service to our state through their efforts.”

The proclamation was organized by former students of the Townsends to honor them for their 30-plus year careers with Texas A&M. The Townsends plan to retire in 2010.

Official Proclamation:

“Whereas, Dr. Joe D. Townsend and Dr. Christine Townsend have ably served students and families of Texas as professors, academic advisors, mentors, role models and friends throughout their careers. Dr. Joe’s career, spanning 40 years, began as a vocational agriculture teacher in Aubrey, TX to Associate Dean for Student Development in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Dr. Chris began her career at Illinois State University and is currently a tenured professor at Texas A&M University; and

Whereas, “Dr. Joe” has become a legendary figure in the lives of countless Texas families through his efforts to instill leadership, self esteem, responsibility and service to causes greater than oneself as elements of the character of all young people regardless of diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural heritage; and

Whereas, he has been a consummate advocate for Texas agriculture and its importance to the American way of life, through education, promotion and by inspiring students and their families to participate in programs and experiences such as the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, State Fair of Texas, San Antonio Livestock Exposition and the Agricultural Consortium of Texas, which brings together agricultural student leaders from colleges, universities and youth organizations around the state; and

Whereas, his efforts have been recognized for excellence by the Texas 4-H Alumni Association, Texas FFA, National FFA Organization, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, Saddle & Sirloin, National Agricultural Science Organization, Texas Education Agency, State of Iowa and many others; including multiple teaching and administrative honors from the Texas A&M Association of Former Students; and,

Whereas, Dr. Chris has devoted her time and passion to teaching and demonstrating positive leadership to the students of Texas A&M University with the confidence and assurance that all students, despite their background and socioeconomic status, can become great leaders in whichever career path they may choose and becoming a productive member of the work force and society.

Whereas, Dr. Chris has served as Department Head, Undergraduate Coordinator, and undergraduate advisor for the Agricultural Leadership and Development major. She has also chaired over 100 graduate committees whose students completed their requirements and research under Dr. Chris who guided and mentored them through their research of effective leadership and education methods for youth, collegiate students, and adults. She has been awarded numerous teaching awards including Texas A&M University Professorship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, National Association of Leadership Educators Distinguished Leadership Educator Award, Texas A&M University Achievement Award for Teaching, Texas A&M University Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar Award, and other numerous teaching and scholarly awards.

Whereas, in 2009 the Dr. Joe D. Townsend ’67 Leadership Fellows Program was established at Texas A&M University by Dr. Chris and the generous support of contributors who admire Dr. Joe’s efforts will serve to provide a prestigious and rigorous environment for leadership development where students engage their leadership skills in an arena beyond the classroom where trials, errors and successes are celebrated, and

Whereas,, Dr. Joe and Dr. Chris have positively impacted the future of our state, nation and world through his positive interaction with generations of young Texans, inspiring them to lead by example, learn by doing and never accept the status quo; now therefore, be it

Resolved, that the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas hereby recognize Dr. Joe D. Townsend and Dr. Christine Townsend as role models for educators, mentors and advocates for young people across Texas and that they be extended our sincerest appreciation for their service to our state through their efforts; and be it further

Resolved, that an official copy of this resolution be prepared for Dr. Joe D. Townsend and Dr. Christine Townsend as an expression of high esteem by the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate.”

Dated: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

About the college:
With an enrollment of almost 6,700 students in 14 academic departments, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees and has a faculty of nearly 400 members, including two Nobel laureates. Research programs include food sustainability and safety, human and animal health, genetics, renewable natural resources and bioenergy.  Mark Hussey is Vice Chancellor and Dean.

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