Sharon Anderson, former director of North Dakota State University Extension, will receive the 2018 Agribusiness Award on Nov. 2 during NDSU’s 45th annual Harvest Bowl program.
This award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of agriculture and business in North Dakota and beyond.
Anderson was raised on a family farm near Kindred, N.D., in rural Richland County. Her first experience with the land-grant system was when she joined 4-H at the age of 8. Her 10-year 4-H experience culminated in 1963, when she attended the National 4-H Congress and was the featured oboe soloist with Arthur Fiedler and the Chicago Symphony.
She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NDSU and her doctorate in higher education administration from the University of North Dakota. While attending NDSU, Anderson was active in the Gold Star Band, Mortar Board Honor Society, Kappa Delta Sorority and several other organizations.
Anderson joined NDSU Extension in 1970 as the home furnishings specialist. She then became a state 4-H specialist and led statewide programs in family living, leadership development and career education. The National Association of 4-H Agents recognized Anderson’s work by presenting her with the Meritorious and Distinguished Service awards.
In 1984, Anderson became NDSU Extension’s first female district director, serving eastern North Dakota counties. In that role, she provided leadership for county staff, their programs and budgets. She also built strong partnerships with county commissioners and the North Dakota Association of Counties.
In 1995, she was named director of NDSU Extension, again the first female in this leadership position. She provided statewide leadership for all programs, staffing, legislative relations and budgets.
While leading Extension, Anderson helped develop and implement the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education. During her tenure, staffing at Research Extension Centers grew, the Rural Leadership Program was established, grant funding increased significantly and Extension adopted new technologies that expanded agricultural education opportunities across the state.
Anderson retired from NDSU as professor emeritus in 2003. In 2004, she began a nine-year career with the National 4-H Council in Washington, D.C., where she built partnerships between the council and land-grant institutions. In 2003, she was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame, and in 2012, she received the National 4-H Council’s Gary L. Davis Leadership Award.
Anderson and her husband, Mick, enjoy spending time in retirement with their family, which includes son Aaron, his wife, Jenny, and their two daughters, Brynn and Harper. They are active tailgaters and attend most Bison football games.
Outstanding agriculturists from all counties in North Dakota and 10 counties in western Minnesota also will be honored during the Harvest Bowl program, and scholarships will be awarded to outstanding male and female NDSU athletes.
The 45th annual Harvest Bowl festivities begin Friday, Nov. 2, at the Delta by Marriot hotel, formerly known as the Ramada Plaza Suites, in Fargo with a dinner and awards ceremony. On Nov. 3, honorees will attend the Harvest Bowl football game between NDSU and Youngstown State.
For information on Harvest Bowl and to register, visit the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association website at https://www.ndsualumni.com/, call the NDSU alumni office toll-free at 800-279-8971 or locally at 701-231-6800, or email Melissa Harms at email@example.com.