MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. — The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce recently recognized Dr. Sandy Maddox, Dean for the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, as the 2021 Agricultural Advocate of the Year. The award was presented during the organization’s annual agriculture luncheon at the Maxwell Center in Goldsboro. Jennifer Johnson, Chair of the committee, presented the award to Dean Maddox.
“This year’s recipient has spent 44 years as a public servant supporting agriculture, agricultural research, and education providing invaluable experience that she willingly shares with others daily,” Johnson said. “Her work ethic is second to none and her visionary leadership has allowed students to take part in building the agricultural program at UMO into what exists today.”
A surprised and honored Maddox expressed her appreciation for the award. “So many others have made my life, and what I have helped to accomplish, possible,” she said. “I am very, very blessed to have the team that I have to work with me. Current and former students, colleagues, faculty, staff, and other partners across the county have made it all possible.”
Maddox serves as the Founding Dean for the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at the University of Mount Olive. In addition, she has served as Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education, Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center, and Chair for the Division of Agriculture. Prior to arriving at UMO, Maddox was employed by both NC State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She worked in the Soil Science Department at NC State in research; was a Horticultural Agent and County Extension Director for Cooperative Extension in Pender County; served as the Superintendent of the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Sampson County; and lastly served as the Director of the Division of Research Stations with NCDA; retiring from state service in 2007.
Maddox has been a member of the Wayne County Cooperative Extension Advisory Board, Wayne Extension Community Association Advisory Board, Tobacco Farm Life Museum Board of Directors, participated in the Karl Best Leadership program, Leadership Wayne, and much more. She has also worked to conduct research in and around Wayne County including assisting with the completion of the Wayne County Farmland Preservation Plan, the Wayne County, NC Cost of Community Services Study and other initiatives.
Maddox has often commented that, at UMO, she found her true passion in working with students and developing the academic programs to train the next generation of agricultural professionals. At one time, Dr. Maddox was the only UMO faculty member teaching agriculture. Today the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at UMO has 20 faculty and serves more than 300 students from across North Carolina, and other states and countries. There are now 11 different degree programs and even some offered in completely online format. The school boasts a 100% job placement of graduates in their field of study within 6 months of graduating.
“Sandy has been an integral part in the success of UMO’s agricultural programs,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom. “She works hard to achieve the very best in all that she does and she always goes above and beyond. Sandy has a passion and drive to make a positive difference in the lives of so many. I am pleased to see her receive this worthy honor and I thank the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce for their support and continued partnership with UMO.”
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.
–Rhonda Jessup, University of Mount Olive