With more than 60 years of professional experience, Dr. Massengale is President Emeritus of the four-campus University of Nebraska having served as President from 1991 to 1994, interim president from 1989 to 1991 and Chancellor of the University's Lincoln campus from 1981 to 1991 and Vice Chancellor of the school's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources from 1976 to 1981. In addition to his executive administration roles, he is recognized as a Foundation Distinguished Professor Emeritus, having been a Foundation Distinguished Professor from 1994 to 2017.
Prior to joining the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Massengale was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Arizona serving as the Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and the Associate Director of the Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station from 1974 to 1976. From 1966 to 1974 he was Department Head, and served as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Assistant Agronomist, Associate Agronomist and Agronomist with the University from 1958 to 1974.
Dr. Massengale began his college education at Western Kentucky University at age 14 obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in 1952 at age 18 and serving as a teaching assistant during 1951-1952. He went on to become a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1952 to 1956 earning his MS in 1954 and a PhD in 1956. In addition he holds an honorary LhD from Nebraska Wesleyan University, attained in 1987 and an honorary Doctorate from Senshu University in Tokyo, Japan in 1995 being the first non-citizen to receive an honorary Doctorate from Senshu University. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.
During the time he was President and Chancellor at Nebraska, he was highly active in intercollegiate athletics having been the only person to serve as chair of both the College Football Association board of directors and the Presidents Commission of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He was also a charter member of the influential Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. For all of his work with intercollegiate athletics, he received the Outstanding President's Award from the All-American Football Foundation. Also, he served on the Higher Learning Commission for the accreditation of colleges and universities.
Dr. Massengale served 12 years as a member, including 9 years as chair, of the Secretary of Agriculture's National Advisory Board for Research, Extension, Education and Economics which is a congressionally mandated board reporting to the Secretary and the Senate and House of Representatives Agricultural Committees. He has also served on a number of corporate boards and consulted and advised other government agencies, educational institutions and private companies representing 12 different countries. He was both a certified professional agronomist and crop scientist.
Dr. Massengale has spoken to hundreds of different groups, and authored or co-authored many scientific and popular articles and chapters in books. He has also achieved the highest status of "Fellow" in three professional societies - American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Additionally, he has been inducted as a Charter Member into the Wayne County High School, Western Kentucky University, and the United States Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Extension and Education Service Halls of Fame.
Dr. Massengale has been and continues to be involved in a number of professional, business and not-for-profit organizations. He has been a member of the board of directors for the Nebraska Policy Institute since 1999, University of Nebraska Foundation Board of Trustees since 1981 and he is a member of the national advisory board for the Center for the Study of Sports in Society. He was chair of the board of directors for the Agronomic Science Foundation, President of the Crop Science Society of America and Western Society of Crop Science, Treasurer and executive committee member for the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and a member of the board of directors for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Bryan Medical Center.
In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Massengale has earned numerous awards and commendations throughout his career. In 2017, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln named one of its new residential centers in his honor. In addition, he was named Nebraskan of the Year by Rotary International #14, Midlander of the Year by the Omaha World-Harold, honored among the top U.S. Executives and achieved a Brothers of the Century Award from Alpha Gamma Rho. He is regarded as one of the most outstanding educators in America and has earned recognition from the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, the Nebraska and Arizona Crop Improvement Associations, the Nebraska Agricultural Hall of Fame, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Nebraskaland Foundation, the Agricultural Builders of Nebraska, the Nebraska Turfgrass Foundation and the "State Farmer" degree from Kentucky, Arizona and Nebraska Future Farmers of America Associations.
Dr. Massengale credits his success to his work ethic, integrity, compassion for people, his love for the environment and a strong interest in agriculture which has allowed him to be passionate in all of his professional endeavors and afforded him opportunities outside the classroom and laboratories. Looking ahead to the future, Dr. Massengale intends to enjoy his retirement while taking on new projects related to agriculture, education and organizational management that are of interest to him.
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