Mrs. E. T. York
E. T. York's life exemplified the land-grant philosophy
of using knowledge for the betterment of mankind. He devoted
a lifetime of service to the land-grant university system
and to working as an advocate for the use of international
agricultural development as a weapon against world hunger
Fittingly, his career
parallels the critical growing years of the land-grant
institution—from its youth as life support for the nation's
agricultural producers into maturity as a complex,
The Alabama native received both his
bachelor's and master's degrees from Auburn University. He
was awarded a doctorate in 1949 from Cornell University,
where he studied under the tutelage of the internationally
renowned soil scientist, Dr. Richard Bradfield.
While at Auburn, he married Vermelle “Vam”
Cardwell of Evergreen, Alabama. Mrs. York was a leader in
women's student government at Auburn. Mrs. York retired as a
successful businesswoman and real estate developer.
From 1949 to 1956, Dr. York served at North
Carolina State University, first as professor and then as
chairman of the Department of Agronomy. He directed
Alabama's Extension Service from 1959 to 1961 and was
Administrator of the Federal Extension Service from 1961 to
York applied the
land-grant institution's philosophy of knowledge for public
benefit to a lifelong advocacy for international
agricultural development. In that role, he led several
presidential missions and served on many national and
international bodies concerned with agricultural development
and world hunger.
world filled with hungry, sick, and poverty-ridden people is
likely to be an unstable world. The United States has a
vital stake in the outcome of the war on hunger," York said
in a 1983 speech.
York was a former chairman of the Board for International
Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) of the Agency for
International Development. The board is concerned with
strengthening and mobilizing the resources of U.S.
universities to help Third World nations improve their
agricultural sectors through effective research and
educational institutions. He also chaired the Board of the
International Fertilizer Development Center, with programs
around the world.
provost of agriculture and vice president for agricultural,
natural, and human resources at the University of Florida
from 1963 to 1973, York effected major, far-reaching
changes. In an effort to more clearly reflect the land-grant
university's unique, tripartite mission of teaching,
research, and extension, York brought together the College
of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Florida Cooperative
Extension Service, and the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Station under the single administrative umbrella of the
present Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
He established the Center for Tropical
Agriculture, which extended the institute's international
influence. He initiated DARE (Developing Agricultural
Resources Effectively), a long-range planning effort. Dr.
York also founded SHARE (Special Help for Agricultural
Research and Education), a UF Foundation program that raises
private funds for agriculture. Over the years, SHARE has
generated nearly $250 million through gifts of cash and
other assets from thousands of donors.
After a period as executive vice president
and interim president of UF, he served as chancellor of the
State University System of Florida from 1975 to 1980. After
1980, he dedicated himself full-time to a wide range of
activities related to the problems of world hunger and
Well-known for his community service, York received the
Rotary International's "Service Above Self Award," the
highest honor bestowed on Rotary Club members. Fewer than
one one-hundredth of one percent (0.01%) of Rotarians
worldwide are recognized with this award.
York authored of more than 100 technical
papers and books, and he lectured at more than 40
universities throughout the U.S. and around the world. He
was appointed to prominent advisory positions by Presidents
Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, by
various foreign governments, and by a number of U.S.
government agencies. Among his many honors, York received
honorary degrees from UF, Auburn, Ohio State, and North
Carolina State, and is a member of the Alabama Agricultural
Hall of Honor and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.
In 1997, York was named a Great Floridian by
the Florida Museum of History in recognition of his notable
contributions in shaping the state of Florida as we know it
today. It was a great loss to the global agricultural
community when Dr. York passed away on Friday April 15, 2011
at his home in Gainesville, Florida.