Texas A&M AgriLife


The Texas A&M AgriLife Distinguished Texan in Agriculture Award honors agricultural leaders in Texas for outstanding leadership and significant contributions to Texas agriculture.


Dr. Charles “Doc” Graham

Graham earned his bachelor of science degree in animal husbandry in 1953, his bachelor of science degree in animal science in 1954 and his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1961, all from Texas A&M. In the early 1960s, Graham and Dr. W. H. Cardwell built the Elgin Veterinary Hospital and grew the practice into one of the largest equine veterinary facilities in the nation. Graham is now owner of a number of other businesses, including the 1,300-acre Southwest Stallion Station in Elgin, which has bred some of the top stallions and broodmares in the quarter horse industry. The numerous awards Graham has received include the 2010 Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Science Outstanding Alumni and his 2009 induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. He is the only individual to be selected Horseman of the Year by both the Texas Quarter Horse Association and the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He also has been named Outstanding Alumnus of Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Graham has served on the board of directors of the Elgin Independent School District and as a member of the Elgin Kiwanis Club and the Thorndale Masonic Lodge. He participates in numerous stock show events to support youth involved in 4-H, FFA and other agricultural organizations. In 2005, the Star of Texas Rodeo of Austin named their new offices for Graham. “Dr. Graham is most deserving of this award,” said Dr. Bill Dugas, acting vice chancellor and dean. “He has served on several committees through the years and has assisted many of our students as they have learned more about the animal science profession through first-hand tours at his equine and beef facilities. We are deeply honored to recognize Dr. Graham for these contributions.” “He’s the only individual to serve as president of both the Texas Quarter Horse Association and the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He’s a legend among those in the equine industry, having established equine veterinarian facilities that are recognized among the nation’s most prominent. He also has successful cattle and feedlot operations in addition to other agricultural interests. We are proud to recognize Dr. Graham for his contributions to Texas agriculture and Texas A&M.”


Pierce Miller

Miller, who resides in San Angelo and ranches near Ozona, is a fourth generation Texas rancher who has spent his lifetime actively involved in the agricultural industry. While growing up in Crockett County, he participated in the 4-H youth program with his primary focus being Rambouillet sheep.  After graduating Ozona High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with high honors from the The University of Texas in Austin. He then entered banking, first with The Fort Worth National Bank for two years and then returning to West Texas where he advanced to become chairman of the board of directors, CEO and president of San Angelo National Bank/Texas Commerce Bank-San Angelo until 1981. He then  left to devote full attention to his family’s ranching and oil and gas business, and to serve in leadership roles for several agricultural organizations. Miller was most recently honored as Man of the Year in Agriculture by the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association during their statewide professional association’s annual meeting at Horseshoe Bay earlier this summer. He is also a past recipient of San Angelo’s Citizen of the Year Award. Miller’s affiliations and leadership roles include serving as chairman of the board of the National Sheep Improvement Center, as well as board president of the American Sheep Industry Association, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association, Mohair Council of America, San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association, Texas Food and Fiber Commission, Texas Council on Agricultural, Research, Extension and Teaching or “T-CARET,” San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, San Angelo Industries and the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. His other affiliations include: the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association, the Massie Memorial Foundation, San Angelo Symphony, Hospice of San Angelo, YMCA, San Angelo Boys Club and the Texas Manufacturers Association of San Angelo. Miller has also served as the vice chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and as a director of Ranchers Lamb of Texas.


2012 Recipients

Jerry Harris

Jerry D. Harris

Through decades of public service, the Lamesa, Texas, businessman and civic leader Jerry D. Harris has had an enduring effect on Texas agriculture. Mr. Harris has over 50 years’ experience in agriculture and has business interests in cotton farming, ginning, warehousing, merchandising, and equipment leasing. He has served as president of local, state, and national cotton ginner associations, including the National Cotton Ginners Association. Among the other industry associations in which he has been an active leader are the National Cotton Council of America and Lamesa Cotton Growers, Inc. He spent 16 years as chair of the Texas State Committee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. A major agricultural leader in the state, Mr. Harris “is always supportive of funding for the land-grant university system and tirelessly champions its public worth,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences. “As a major proponent of the Texas A&M AgriLife agencies and Texas A&M University, he has been a vocal advocate through state and national councils on agricultural research, extension, and teaching.” Mr. Harris’s many honors include the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the USDA Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Man of the Year Award from the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, and the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturist Award from Texas Tech University. He was honored as the 2001 Horace Hayden Cotton Ginner of the Year by the National Cotton Ginners Association. The Horace Hayden award is presented to the ginner providing outstanding leadership to the U.S. cotton industry, superior customer service and civic contributions. Mr. Harris is active in the local community of Lamesa and, more broadly, of Dawson County, where he was born. He works with the school board, United Way chapter, Rotary Club, and chamber of commerce. He has coached Little League and girls’ softball and has an extensive record as a Bible school teacher.


Bob Turner

Bob Turner

Legislator and agricultural leader Bob Turner’s advocacy for the Texas agricultural industry has improved the lives of countless Texans. “From the grassroots level to the house floor, Bob’s common-sense approach to a wide array of issues has won him support not only from rural Texans but from urban constituents as well,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences. Mr. Turner served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1991 to 2003. He served as chair of the House Committee on Public Safety and as a member of the House committees on Land and Resource Management, Agriculture, and Livestock and Natural Resources. Among other contributions, he authored a bill (HB 680) establishing the Helping Hands Program, which provided liability relief to entities that donate fire and emergency equipment to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The program has received about $25 million in equipment donations to date. Continuing his work with the state’s fire departments, Mr. Turner currently chairs the TFS Rural Fire Advisory Council, guiding the agency’s assistance to fire departments. Mr. Turner, who was in the U.S. Army Reserve for 35 years and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel, has deep roots in rural Texas. He was born, raised, and lives in Voss in Coleman County, where his family settled shortly after 1900. He has owned and operated a retail western-wear store for 20 years. He has also farmed and raised livestock throughout his life. Mr. Turner’s service record reflects his interest in issues that matter to rural communities. He has chaired the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Damage Management Committee and the American Farm Bureau Federation Rural Health Committee. He has also served as president of the Coleman County Farm Bureau, as vice president of the Texas Farm Bureau, and as chairman of the Texas Rural Health Committee. “Agriculture depends on rural Texans, and rural Texans depend on agriculture,” writes Tom Boggus, state forester and director of the Texas A&M Forest Service at College Station, in a letter supporting Mr. Turner’s nomination for the award. “Understanding this connection has led Bob into a lifetime of tireless service for the betterment of Texas agriculture and the health of the rural communities that are linked to it.”


E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal (1922-2001)

E. M. “Manny” Rosenthal (1922–2001) (Posthumously)

E. M. “Manny” Rosenthal ’42 was a meat-industry visionary and a longtime philanthropist for religious, cultural, and educational causes. Although Mr. Rosenthal passed away in 2001, his legacy continues through his community, his family, and the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center at Texas A&M University. Beginning in junior high school, Mr. Rosenthal worked part-time at his father’s business, the Standard Meat Company. He interrupted his work at the Fort Worth establishment after graduating from Texas A&M University in 1942, during World War II. He joined the U.S. Army, serving as an officer in North Africa and Europe. He rejoined the Standard Meat Company on his return in 1945. Mr. Rosenthal became the company’s president in 1959 and its chairman in 1965. He retired from the Standard Meat Company in 1988, a few years after it became a subsidiary of the Sara Lee Corporation. Mr. Rosenthal’s son, Billy, today serves on the board of the Standard Meat Company. Current business models in the meat industry can trace their history to the models “Manny” Rosenthal developed during his career. Mr. Rosenthal was also a patron of numerous artistic, educational, religious, and other organizations. He served as president on the board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and on those of many other Jewish organizations. In Fort Worth, he served as a key member of the boards of the Modern Art Museum, the Symphony Orchestra Association, and the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, among others. In addition, he was actively involved in business and agricultural education in the region, serving as adviser and frequent lecturer at The University of Texas at Arlington and at Texas A&M University. In 1987 Mr. Rosenthal received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students, the highest honor bestowed on a former student of Texas A&M. The same year, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents named the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center for him and his wife, Rosalyn. The Rosenthals, in conjunction with the Texas A&M Board of Regents, established the E. M. Rosenthal Chair in Animal Science at Texas A&M. His legacy has gathered awards even after his death in 2001. In 2011 he was posthumously inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.


Past Award Recipients


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