Dave Richards '81 receives CFAES Distinguished Alumnus Award

Submitted by Frances Whited, whited.16@osu.edu

Dave Richards '81 (Associate of Science in Nursery Management) was recently honored as a recipient of a CFAES Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dave is a strong supporter of Ohio State ATI and has been an instructor in horticulture at Auburn Career Center in Painesville, Ohio, for over 20 years. Experiential learning is a focus of his teaching strategy, and he incorporates many different forms of hands-on education into his student lessons.

To help prepare students for what will be expected of them in the industry, Dave has worked to change Ohio FFA’s testing to be similar to the professional certifications in Ohio’s nursery and landscape industry. He continues to work with Ohio FFA and National FFA to offer apprenticeship programs in which students can participate.

One of the highlights of his experiential teaching strategies is a display at Cleveland’s Great Big Home + Garden Show where, with Dave’s leadership, students create a competition-level garden that is 1,600 square feet.

In his words, Dave’s greatest contribution to the landscape industry is “a passion for excellence in all endeavors both personally and for my students. I am particularly proud of the partnerships developed with business and industry which led to aligning classroom/ lab curriculum with industry certification credentials.” It is through his students that Dave’s legacy will live on.