First agriculture scholarship awarded at Farmers Night


CEDARVILLE — Connecting the surrounding farming community to the university itself, Cedarville University hosted its annual Farmers Night Feb. 21.

Sawyer Williams, a freshman biology major from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, was the first recipient of the Helen Elbin Agriculture Scholarship.

“It’s an amazing blessing to receive this scholarship, especially considering the financial struggle that this past semester presented,” said Williams. “This was a great surprise that I never would have expected.”

While Williams said he’s grateful for the scholarship, he recognizes that the honor is not his alone.

“If anyone deserves recognition, it’s my professor, Dr. Robert Paris,” he said. “He’s the reason I got this scholarship and goes out of his way to help his students however he can, while still being one of the most humble, kind and genuine men I know.”

The Helen Elbin Agriculture Scholarship was established in memory of Helen Elbin, a longtime supporter of Cedarville through the relationships she built with Cedarville students at her church and through the ministry of Cedarville’s former radio station, WCDR. The scholarship is available to biology students in Cedarville’s pre-agriculture and pre-veterinary medicine programs.

Farmers Night was originally started by Dr. Paul Dixon, former president and current chancellor of Cedarville University, in the 1980s.

At this year’s event, Dr. Thomas White, president of Cedarville University, gave an update on the university, and Paris, associate professor of biology, shared about the pre-agriculture and pre-veterinary medicine programs and gave an update on Cedarville’s new soybean research which was started last year.

“Farmers Night is a way to reach beyond Cedarville and build trust with the agricultural community,” said Paris. “We want to be open about who we are as an institution to the community around us, and we want to show how our research can benefit them down the road.”

For the past three years, Cedarville has recognized a farming family who has a connection to Cedarville and who put their Christian faith first in their farming operation. This year’s farming family was the Hords from Bucyrus, Ohio.

“The Hords represent three living family generations who work side by side on a very large and complex farm operation,” explained Albert Grunenwald, associate vice president for development. “They are a family that cares deeply about the physical and spiritual needs of their employees and give generously to support needs in their community.”

Two of the Hords’ children, Phil and Colleen, are Cedarville alumni, as well as Phil’s wife, Becca.

More than 200 people attended Farmers Night. Among those was the Shaffer family from Cygnet, Ohio, last year’s honored farm family.

Photo courtesy CU Sawyer Williams, Dr. Robert Paris, and Dr. Mark McClain attend Farmers Night. courtesy CU Sawyer Williams, Dr. Robert Paris, and Dr. Mark McClain attend Farmers Night.

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