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Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
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Graduate of Distinction Award

Graduate of Distinction Award

Graduate of Distinction Award Recipients 2017

This award, presented annually since 1949, recognizes graduates with a B.S. degree in Animal Science at OSU who have compiled outstanding records of achievement and service, particularly in the field of Animal Agriculture. George Clift, Randy Harp, and John Thomas received this award in 2017.

George Clift

George Clift has been involved in Agriculture for over 40 years.  After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1979 with Animal Science and Agribusiness degrees, he went to work for the Ralston Purina Company, working with feed stores and large cattle, swine and dairy operations. As a District Manager for Ralston Purina, George provided business management assistance to agri-business owners and marketing assistance to livestock owners. George assisted cattlemen with genetic evaluation, grazing management, retained ownership opportunities and ration formulation. While working in southeastern Oklahoma, George also became involved with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Junior livestock shows and the Boys and Girls Club.  George was the first President of the Animal Science Alumni Association in 1980-81.

George began his real estate brokerage business in Amarillo, Texas in 1997. Clift Land Brokers is now the largest farm and ranch real estate firm in the Texas Panhandle with 21 real estate brokers and sales associates.

In 2008, George formed a partnership with Dick Bretz, and created Eslabon Properties which markets large commercial agriculture facilities, including feedyards, dairies, meat packing facilities, and ethanol production plants across the U. S. George is also involved in multi parcel land auctions as owner of Clift Land Auctions, LP, which has successfully auctioned over 250,000 acres in four states.

George is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado.  In 2005, he earned the Advanced Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation, being only one of 500 Realtors throughout the U.S. who holds this coveted accreditation.  He is Past President of the Texas Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute, and Past President of the Realtors Land Institute National Board of Directors.  In 2016, he received the Realtors Land Institute’s most prestigious honor, the 2015 Land Realtor of America Award.  George also serves on the Board of Directors for the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo.

George and wife Kathi have three children, Bryan, Kari and Megan, as well as five grandchildren.

Randy Harp

Dr. Randy Harp was reared on a family farm in northeastern Oklahoma where he was active in 4-H and raised beef cattle, swine and poultry. He obtained a B.S. degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in 1976, an M.S. at New Mexico State University, and a Ph. D. from Oklahoma State University in 1998.  During his time as an undergraduate at OSU, Randy was a member of the 1976 National Champion Meat Judging Team, a member of FarmHouse Fraternity and served as an officer in Alpha Zeta, Collegiate 4-H and the Block and Bridle clubs.

Throughout his career, Dr. Harp has been a professor of animal science at East Texas State University/ Texas A&M University-Commerce for 5 years, served as Department Head of Meat/Food Science at Eastern Oklahoma State College for 15 years, and was a professor of animal science at Tarleton State University for 16 years.   He returned to Texas A&M – Commerce in the fall of 2016 and currently serves as Director for the School of Agriculture.

Dr. Harp has published over 50 peer-reviewed Journal Articles, Symposium Contributions (invited speaker, posters and papers), Conference Proceedings and Book Contributions.  During his career, he has coached over 40 first place collegiate meat judging teams, including 12 national championships.  Dr. Harp has also assisted several first place 4-H and FFA teams. He served 18 years on the National FFA Meat Evaluation and Technology Career Development Event committee.  He was Superintendent of the National FFA Meat CDE for seven years.  In 2005, he received the Honorary American FFA Degree.

Dr. Harp served two terms as President of the American Meat Science Association Intercollegiate Meat Judging Coaches’ Association.  One of his ultimate honors was receiving the American Meat Science Association Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award in 2013.  He has judged several livestock and carcass shows from California to Mississippi and continues to serve as an official at collegiate livestock and meat judging contests.  Randy has been cited by USDA/FSIS for work with federal meat inspector training and education. In addition, he served as an inaugural member and co-chair of the faculty advisory committee to the Chancellor for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Dr. Harp is married to Dana Davis Harp (an OSU alumna).  They have three children and five grandchildren.

John Thomas

John C. Thomas has had a passion for agriculture his entire life and has dedicated over half of his life to the pork industry. The contributions he has made to the pork industry in Oklahoma are immeasurable. John has a profound love for the land, the animals and the people in the pork industry, and that is what has made this lifelong passion so personally fulfilling and professionally invaluable.

John joined Tyson Foods, Inc. in 1984, after graduating from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, as well as beginning as a management trainee with The Pork Group.

John started with Tyson Foods, Inc. in Holdenville, Okla., in January of 1994 as Director of Operations. He worked on behalf of The Pork Group to build and establish a strong business in that area; working with contract producers to ensure growth and success. In his twenty-five years with The Pork Group, the live hog division of Tyson Fresh Meats, John has served in many capacities. John finished his career with Tyson as Vice President of Live Hogs. Since then, he has had the opportunity to learn and teach about multiple aspects of the live swine business and the contributing factors to growing a strong operational foundation from the ground up.

Besides building a home and a life in the Holdenville area, John developed and sustained many relationships which allowed him an opportunity to achieve his professional goals of ensuring that thriving and vital operations were built. John was also extended an opportunity for personal enrichment by being embraced by Oklahomans and befriended by individuals who remain close confidantes.

John was the first corporate executive named as a board member to the Oklahoma Pork Council.  John was highly involved in state legislation efforts and agricultural partnerships with Oklahoma State University.

“I am honored to serve as a leader within our company and our industry. I believe that one of the keys to operating a successful organization is to maintain focus on operational excellence,” said John Thomas.

John holds a great deal of gratitude for the investment others have made in his life. He believes that sustainability, a strong business model, and adaptation are a few of the keys to a successful business. He also believes it is essential to acknowledge the contributions made by everyone who has played a role in the growth and development of the pork industry.

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