Former University Professor Dick Oliver Named CSES Outstanding Alumnus

Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences department head Robert Bacon presents the 2016-17 Outstanding Alumnus award to former weed science University Professor Dick Oliver (right).
Holly Yeatman

Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences department head Robert Bacon presents the 2016-17 Outstanding Alumnus award to former weed science University Professor Dick Oliver (right).

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Dick Oliver was named the Outstanding Alumnus by the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences' Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences for 2016-17.

Oliver earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Arkansas and his doctorate from Purdue University. He spent 38 years as a member of the CSES weed science faculty before retiring in 2011. He focused on weed biology/ecology and weed management programs for soybeans, corn and wheat in Arkansas and throughout the mid-south.

A University Professor and holder of the Elms Farming Richard S. Barnett Jr. Chair for Weed Science, he advised 41 master's degree and 24 doctoral degree students. His students earned 10 first-place, five second-place and six third-place finishes in 17 years at the Arkansas Agricultural Pesticide Association or Arkansas Crop Protection Association's annual meetings. Oliver coached the CSES weed team for 31 years with 25 Southern Weed Contest titles.

"Dick provided service and was a leader in every group he was associated with," said department head Robert Bacon. "Where he probably shined most brightly was in his role of teacher. Dick was an outstanding classroom teacher and an excellent mentor. He won pretty much every teaching award in his professional societies and the college. He had an incredible record of training graduate students, who themselves were and continue to be recognized for their achievements. With his research, Dick made an impact on weed science and agriculture. With his service, he made an impact on the university and on the state. With his teaching and mentoring, he made an impact on people's lives."

Oliver served as president of the Weed Science Society of America and the Southern Weed Science Society, and was chair and vice chair of the Bumpers College Faculty Council. He was named a Fellow and Outstanding Teacher by WSSA, inducted into the U of A Teaching Academy, and awarded the John and Lois Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship, the Spitze Land Grand Award and the USDA National Teaching Award.

Other students recognized at the banquet included:

  • Travis Jones, CSES Outstanding Master's Degree Student
  • Chris Rouse, CSES Outstanding Doctoral Degree Student
  • Travis Jones, Ron and Alice Talbert Weed Science Award
  • Laura Ortega, Tri-Societies National Student Recognition Award
  • Madison Brown, CSES Senior Award
  • Matt Thompson, CSES Nominee for the John W. White Outstanding Student Award

The banquet was presented by the CSES Graduate Student Association and the CSES Undergraduate Club.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the U of A comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

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