Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

February 17, 2010

LMC adds ag program

JACKSONVILLE — First sports programs and a set of hospitality management courses, now an agriculture program.

Lon Morris College announced Wednesday it plans the new classes for fall 2010.

Director of Public Relations Afton Barber said the college hired Agricultural Sciences Coordinator Katie Snyder to grow the program.

“Katie has an excellent background in the field of agriculture and will do a great job starting this program,” Barber said.

Snyder, who started work Monday, said she is formulating what courses will be offered in the program.

“There will be four or five courses to come into play next school year,” she said. “We will teach leadership, responsibility, the fundamentals of agriculture and agriculture politics and law — a little bit of everything.”

Recruiting will begin in the very near future, Snyder said and added she aims for a group of at least 20 in the fall.

“We think there’s untapped potential to grow in town,” Snyder said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for students, and we just have to find it.”

Snyder entered agricultural studies when it was offered as an elective her freshman year at Jacksonville High School, she said.

“It was interesting,” Snyder said. “I really enjoyed working in the show cattle industry and creating a network.”

Her goal now is to travel to various Texas high schools and recruit students. She said she also plans to attend Texas agriculture conventions to recruit students, as well as the Vocational Agriculture Teacher Association of Texas Conference to develop relationships with agriscience teachers and experts in the field.

  President Dr. Miles McCall said Snyder is a woman from Jacksonville who will make an excellent addition to the college.

Snyder holds an associate’s in agriculture from Tyler Junior College, a bachelor’s in agriculture and services and development with an emphasis in extension and industries from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, and is currently completing her M.Ed. in agriculture and family education at Texas A&M University – Commerce.

A Lon Morris College press release stated classes will include Introductory animal sciences, horticulture, agronomy, principles of food Sscience and the agricultural industry.

   She is a Texas Education Agency (TEA)-certified agriculture science educator  (grades 6-12), 2008 graduate of the National FFA DELTA Agriculture Educators Conference, taught agriculture for three years at Jacksonville ISD, served as advisor for the Jacksonville FFA, former Texas Collegiate FFA State President (2004-2005), Texas Junior College Agriculture Association outstanding student (2003), member of the Cherokee County Go Texan Committee, which earns annual $15,000 scholarships through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for Cherokee County students, and is a lifetime member of the Will A. Lewis Exposition Center.

   College records indicate about 70 percent of Lon Morris’ 800 students live on campus controlled property, including two hotels contracting with the college for additional space and the school’s new Cooper House building. Another housing structure, estimated to hold 116 students, is planned for completion in fall 2010.

In a previous Daily Progress article, McCall said because the college is adding new programs to its list of curriculums, it will attract a larger group of students and will move closer to its goal of 1,000 students.

“Our goal is to grow to that 1,000 residential students,” he said.

He said he believes having 1,000 students will equate to a better college experience for each student because it will ease them into the full college life and prepare them for a large four-year school more effectively than a school with 350 students can.

“It’s a pretty big jump from 350 to 2,000,” McCall said.

He also said the college’s board of trustees is considering a process of expanding some curriculums to four-year studies, though he added this process could take upwards of 10 years and no small financial commitment.

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