4-H Hall of Fame
Utah 4-H Hall of Fame Nominations
Submissions for 2019 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee are now being accepted. The recipient will be honored at the 4-H State Contests Banquet on July 16, 2019.
Nominees must meet the following requirements:
- Must have participated in 4-H as a youth
- Must show evidence that 4-H experience has helped them contribute to their community
2018 Recipient: Kevin Kesler
Dr. Kevin C Kesler received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Utah State University in the fields of Agriculture Education, specializing in Extension Education and International Development. He received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University specializing in Extension Administration.
Kevin comes from a very diverse background. His life experiences range from growing up in a frontier fort built by the early Utah pioneers, to working internationally as an agricultural engineer to develop Extension organizations and farming systems in Egypt. Dr. Kesler became involved in 4-H over fifty years ago. As a young boy, he was a member of a 4-H horse club in Millard County.
Kevin has had various teaching experience at three different universities and in two different countries. He has had opportunities to teach Agricultural Engineering and Extension courses, as well as noncredit Extension workshops and classes.
Kevin’s administrative experiences include the positions of County Director, Area Director, Assistant Extension Director, Director of Research and Extension, and 4-H Program Leader. For the past 20 years, he has been the Director of 4-H and Youth Programs for Utah State University Extension.
Kevin has provided state leadership for many aspects of University Extension, but his love is in Cooperative Extension and the 4-H Program. He has found enjoyment working with Cooperative Extension employees and their programs. He tries to live the 4-H motto of “Making the best better”.
Kevin has received numerous awards at the local, state and national levels and has brought in over 6 million dollars in external funding to support his programs.
2017 Recipient: Don Olsen
Don grew up in a “4-H family.” His mother was involved with 4-H back in the 1950s and all of his older siblings began showing steers and doing other projected when they turned 9 years old. He soon followed suit. He served as a teen council officer, county ambassador and state ambassador.
Following his 4-H experience, Don has been very successful in his professional career. Don is the General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Organizational Development for Cricut, Inc., a leading creativity technology company located in South Jordan, Utah. Prior to joining Cricut he worked as General Counsel for TIFIE (tai-fee) Humanitarian doing developmental work in central Africa. Prior to that time he was in private practice. In 2012 he was recognized as one of Utah’s “40-Under-40” by Utah Business Magazine.
Don enjoys giving back to his community by serving as a member of various legally oriented groups. He has had the opportunity to work as a legal representative with two presidential campaigns. He currently serves on several appointed civic boards and spends most of his extra time fulfilling an ecclesiastical assignment. The real way he hopes to give back to the community is by being a good husband, a good father, and raising kids that are better than he was, and he claims “… so far they are better than I was.”
2016 Recipient: John Paul Murphy
John Paul Murphy comes from a 4-H family where both his mother and farther were 4-H leaders. His sisters all participated in 4-H and attended many 4-H camps and events long before JP, as he was known by friends and family, was old enough to be a member. JP was required to attend things with his family and sisters, like Style Dress Reviews, long before he was the proper age to be in 4-H.
JP loved youth development and when he graduated with a degree in youth recreation, he vowed to work for the best youth development organization in the world. He accomplished that goal. For more than Forty years, John Paul Murphy has made a tremendous contribution to our Utah 4-H and National 4-H programs.
He began his career as a Rural 4-H Youth Agent in the Uintah Basin. From his rural experience he accepted a position as an Urban Youth 4-H Youth Agent in Salt Lake County. He then served as an Assistant State 4-H Leader, Acting State 4-H Program Leader, and Statewide Youth Development Specialist. JP has shaped the lives of countless youth and adults—including well over 200 State and National 4-H Ambassadors. They have all benefited from his 4-H background, motivating leadership style and training expertise.
4-H has made John Paul Murphy into a nationally recognized motivational speaker, workshop presenter, entertainer and consultant. His motivational presentations on leadership, human relations, communications and group dynamics have been presented to over two million youth and adults throughout the United States and Canada.
4-H has clearly contributed to making John Paul Murphy into the national honored and respected leader that he is today. JP truly bleeds 4H green.
2015 Recipient: LuAnn Adams
LuAnn was able to participate in 4-H while living in Chubbuck, Idaho. She was involved
in cooking and sewing. She has always felt that the 4-H program builds character in
kids. She has admired and looked up to the many 4-H leaders who are dedicated and
committed and who volunteer countless hours of their time helping the youth. She
has watched 4-H build self-esteem in our youth. LuAnn feels that the 4-H portolfios
help our youth become organized and efficient and 4-H projects teach kids to work
hard while learning new skills and commitment to taking care of animals.
When LuAnn became County Commissioner for Box Elder County she soon learned that she was in a position to help the 4-H programs. She worked with a local company to contribute money for rabbit and bird cages. She served as the commissioner over the fairgrounds and built two buildings that accommodate the 4-H programs. After the buildings were completed, 4-H needed displays. The county was out of money so LuAnn worked with local businesses to donate money for those displays. As Commissioner of Agriculture and Food LuAnn is able to move the 4-H programs forward in our state through monetary contributions. These programs teach children about agriculture and develop lifelong skills.
LuAnn invites all to not hesitate to reach out to her. She loves the 4-H program, what it stands for, and how it helps build strong young men and women. She believes that we must all work together to keep 4-H and agriculture strong in Utah.
2014 Recipient: Deloris Stokes
Deloris Stokes, Tremonton, participated in 4-H in Box Elder County. He said the highlight of 4-H for him was working with his sons. Sheep herders would give them lambs to raise. They also raised laying hens and turkeys, and he has helped more than 300 youth raise turkeys. He has 5,000 acres of dryland farm in Box Elder County and has the distinction of having a wheat variety named after him. “Deloris”(Triticum aestivum L.) was developed to provide growers with a high quality, hard red winter wheat that is high yielding when grown under dryland conditions and is resistant to dwarf bunt. He has long been a cooperator for the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station and supporter of USU’s Small Grains Breeding Program. In addition, he has helped his community build three hospitals.
His favorite things are his family, church, farming, helping the community, serving on the school board, helping the youth and being a Santa Claus. He has served three LDS missions and has been a mission president, bishop and member of the stake presidency. He has three sons, two daughters, and his wife is deceased. He said 4-H taught him a wide variety of things, including how to be successful, and it helped him build a strong family. He learned about livestock as well as how to be a leader. The program also taught him to love life.
2013 Recipient: Evan Olsen
Evan Olsen, Wellsville, participated in Cache County 4-H. His brothers raised pigs, but he chose to raise calves. He remembers a calf scramble where donors turned calves into the corral. The 4-H kids then went out and caught them, and that was what they showed for their projects. He attended USU for two years and served in the state legislature for 22 years. He sponsored House Bill 343, signed into law on March 17, 2000, by Governor Michael O. Leavitt entitled “Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman.” This established Utah as the first state with its own “porn czar.”
He also worked to establish funding for the preservation of agricultural land in the county and state and was an advocate for the concept of conservation easement. He was active in the Utah Farm Bureau and served on the irrigation board. He is involved in farming and raises alfalfa. He has been a bishop in the LDS Church twice, branch president and in the stake presidency. He said finding the right woman to marry was an important accomplishment for him. He loves music. He said 4-H taught him responsibility and helped him meet other people. It gave him the opportunity to spend time with good kids, gave him something productive to do and it also gave him something to worry about besides himself.
2012 Recipient: F. Ross Peterson
F. Ross Peterson, Logan, participated in 4-H for three years in Bear Lake County. He recalled going with ranchers into their herds and getting help selecting one of the best calves. He would raise it, sell it at the fair, then pay the rancher back for the calf. The fairs were exciting and the selection process was extraordinary. Peterson graduated from USU in 1965, then completed a Ph.D. at Washington State University. After three years at the University of Texas-Arlington, he returned to USU and served as department head from 1976-1984 and as director of the Mountain West Center from 1986-1996, and from 2001-2003. In 2004, he became president of Deep Springs College and returned to USU as vice president of advancement from 2007-2011. As full professor, renowned historian and author, he has been one of the most popular professors at USU since he came in 1971. He currently is a special assistant to the president. In 1998, he received the Governor’s Award as the outstanding Humanist in Utah.
He also received a Fulbright fellowship to teach African-American history in New Zealand. He has been a member of the Utah State Board of History and the Utah Humanities Council. His wife, Kay, and all three sons have USU degrees. Peterson said that 4-H taught him responsibility as he took care of his project animals, kept track of expenses, raised the calf, paid for the calf and sold it. He remembered when the owner of a small store and his wife bought his calf. They did not need the meat, they were just supporting him, and he has never forgotten that.
2011 Recipient: Kelly B. Maxfield
Kelly B. Maxfield, Farmington, was in 4-H for 10 years in Taylorsville. He began his 4-H career showing rabbits at the fair. He raised a calf and lost $20 when he sold it, so he bought a sheep the next time and has been working with the 4-H sheep project the past 50 years. He said the agents and leaders made 4-H fun as a youth. He made many friends, learned about leadership, went to conferences and met kids with common interests.
He has been a 4-H leader for 40 years in Salt Lake and Davis counties. He is an executive vice president for Questar Gas and started the 4-H donated meat program, which has fed many thousands of families in need in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming since 2005. He also started the Giving Garden at the USU Botanical Center. The garden has provided tens of thousands of pounds of vegetables to Davis County food pantries since 2009. He is pro agriculture and is concerned about helping our nation remember where food comes from before it is too late to preserve agriculture. He said 4-H gave him an understanding of what life is all about. It helped him learn that agriculture is a fundamental part of our country and community, and he has tried to pass that value on to youth. “Great moments are created out of great opportunities,” is a quote he shares often.
2010 Recipient: Olene S. Walker
Dr. and Gov. Olene Smith Walker, St. George, participated in 4-H in Weber County. As a 4-H member, she won the state 4-H fashion review contest and rode the train to Chicago to National 4-H Congress. While there, Mr. Kraft from Kraft Foods asked her to chair a Kraft Company meeting. She also recalled a sewing project. Her mother was gone and she was trying to finish the project, but kept doing it wrong and had to unpick it multiple times. She said that is when she learned to keep doing something over and over until she got it right.
Walker was Utah’s 15th governor. She was sworn into office on Nov. 5, 2003, shortly before her 73rd birthday, as Utah’s first, and, to date, only female governor. She served eight years in the state legislature including a term as majority whip and as the fourth lieutenant governor of Utah for the 10 years prior to becoming governor. She founded the Salt Lake Education Foundation. She served as director of the Utah Division of Community Development. She has chaired the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, the Utah State Housing Coordinating Committee, the Governor’s Commission on Child Care and the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors. She said life highlights include being the first woman governor and lieutenant governor, earning a Ph.D., marrying Myron and raising great kids ― and of course 4-H. She said 4-H gave her the skills to be able to make things happen and the courage to stand in front of people. It also helped her develop leadership abilities.
2009 Recipient: Robert Gilliland
Robert Gilliland, St. George, participated in 4-H in Fort Thomas, Arizona. He began a 4-H dairy project when he was 13 and participated in tractor, electronics and poultry projects. He was also in junior leadership and was a livestock judge. He won a trip to Chicago with his tractor project and also attended 4-H conference. He was the recipient of a 4-H scholarship that got him to college. He said this exposed him to experiences he could never have otherwise had. He served as a 4-H volunteer leader, then 4-H agent in Arizona. He was a 4-H program leader and associate dean in New Mexico, then became vice president and dean for Utah State University Extension.
He later served as an LDS mission president and also was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Of all his accomplishments, he enjoyed being a 4-H agent in Arizona the most and believes it was his most important assignment. He received a Ph.D. from Ohio State, a master’s degree from Arizona State and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. He said 4-H opened the door for many opportunities. He was shy as a youth, and 4-H gave him leadership experiences that provided a foundation for future endeavors. He said he could not have accomplished anything without the adults who reached out, picked him up and gave him a chance to learn.