Scott Reed, director of Oregon’s Extension program, received the 2017 Ruby Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a national Extension professional organization. The award—the highest honor given by ESP–recognizes “truly outstanding thinking, performance and leadership in Extension.” It comes with an invitation to give the keynote speech at ESP’s annual conference, held this year in North Carolina in October.
“It’s a cool and very humbling recognition of a lifetime’s career,” said Reed, who is also vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement and a member of ESP’s Gamma chapter.
In his 38 years of service to Extension, Reed has led local, state and national efforts to make the 104-year-old research and outreach agency more responsive, innovative and engaged. At OSU he pioneered Open Campus, linking educational resources to advance college and career readiness, degree completion and community economic development.
In his Ruby Lecture, Reed spoke about the challenges and opportunities facing Extension in the twenty-first century. He spoke of “mega-forces” that are transforming society, such as quick-moving technology, growing cities coupled with stagnating rural areas and a transformed environment for the flow of information and knowledge. He challenged attendees to embrace innovation, reach out to new audiences and partners and be bold about promoting the Extension “brand.”
“Extension in the United States is historic, and moved forward in 1914, when it was authorized by the federal Smith-Lever Act,” he said. “What distinguishes us from other service organizations is two things: we’re rooted in the science, and we’re uniquely equipped to convene disparate communities of people.”
Reed has a doctorate in forest economics and policy from the University of Minnesota and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in forestry from Michigan State University. In his current role at OSU he leads 500 employees and manages a $40 million annual budget.
~ Gail Wells