From the September 7, 1995, Student Voice, by James Molitor
There are people in this world who are the stars of the show, the people who usually get all the glory, the attention and the awards. Then there are the people who are not seen, but are just as important as everybody else, a "behind-the-scenes, get-things-done" type person.
Rudy Erickson is one of those people who is behind the scenes, but his 27 years of service at UW-River Falls haven't gone unrecognized. Erickson has been named the winner of this year's Chancellor's Award for Excellence.
His work with both the university and the city of River Falls have been instrumental in putting UWRF on the map in the agricultural community.
Since he started at the university in the summer of 1969, he has been responsible for the coordination of its two laboratory farm operations, including budget administration, staffing, physical facilities, crop production and livestock management. Along with that, Erickson has played a vital role in coordinating education and laboratory activities with faculty and the many courses that utilize the lab farms.
One of the most important relationships that he developed between UWRF and the city of River Falls was to compost "excess manure with leaves from the city of River Falls to help solve both waste problems, and in doing so has created a useful product," according to one nominator.
"The sum total of these activities and events requires a dedicated individual that has the ability to coordinate a vast array of activities on behalf of the university and the laboratory farms," a nominator said.
"Over the years our laboratory farms continue to be an integral part of our educational program."
"He has truly managed a large and difficult operation in a way that has benefited everyone associated with the university community," another nominator said. "His aptitude of making everything work for the common good is exceptional."
Erickson hasn't limited his efforts to the lab farms, however. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Indianhead Polled Hereford Scholarship and the Central Livestock Scholarship. He makes regular contributions to these scholarships and has aided many college students majoring in animal science.
Erickson has been vocal in a number of the environmental education classes, providing students with insights of the environmental impacts of farming.
He has also been "very visible and prominent" in a number of livestock associations statewide and regionally. Erickson is a member and has held an officer's position in beef and sheep associations over the past 30 years and has also been a long-term member of the local school board, county fair associations, insurance town mutual company and the cooperative education service agency.
"Through his involvement with industry people and industry organization, Rudy has been an ambassador for UW-River Falls," a nominator said. "Many students over the years have come to UW-River Falls because of his influence."
Erickson has also assisted with the Alpha Zeta National Agricultural Honor Fraternity, including conducting its anual "Farm Days."
The selection criteria for the Chancellor's Award for Excellence are success in fulfilling the overall responsibilities of the job, participation in university projects outside one's job responsibilities and success in human relations.
One nominator summarized Erickson's contributions in a single sentence. "Overall, I feel Rudy is a professional manager, a quality individual and a true supporter and promoter of the educational mission at our university."