President Ferrini-Mundy to receive 2020 Seaman A. Knapp Award, present memorial lecture

University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy will deliver the Seaman A. Knapp Memorial Lecture in a virtual webinar sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). 

The Oct. 28 event from 3–5:30 p.m. begins with the Community of Scholars Celebrating Excellence: Cooperative Extension and Research Awards Presentation, followed by the Seaman A. Knapp Memorial Lecture at approximately 4:55 p.m. Registration for the free public webinar is online

President Ferrini-Mundy’s address, “Positives in Pandemics: The Increased Need and Importance of Extension During Times of Crisis,” will focus on the response of Maine’s land grant university and its Cooperative Extension program, serving through county offices, research farms and 4-H camps, and online. In recognition of her leadership and contributions to food and agricultural sciences, she also will receive the 2020 Seaman A. Knapp Award.

“University of Maine Cooperative Extension is the largest outreach component of Maine’s research university, playing a critical role in fulfilling the statewide land grant mission,” says President Ferrini-Mundy. “In keeping with Seaman Knapp’s vision, UMaine Extension and other states’ programs nationwide meaningfully change lives. Extension’s efforts during the pandemic — ranging from providing critical K–12 learning opportunities to problem solving to help maintain the economic viability of producers and the quality of the food system — continue to be pivotal in nimbly responding to ongoing needs. And, as always, making a difference.”

The Knapp Award and memorial lecture recognize President Ferrini-Mundy’s leadership at the helm of the state’s land grant university, her nationally recognized expertise in STEM education, commitment to equity and inclusion, and understanding of both the importance and impact of Cooperative Extension and its 4-H youth programming, says UMaine Cooperative Extension dean Hannah Carter.

Annually since 1980, NIFA and APLU have sponsored a lecture by leaders in agriculture, research, education and Extension. The lecture series honors three of the most important land grant university system figures: William Henry Hatch for research; Seaman A. Knapp for Extension; and Justin Smith Morrill, namesake of the act that created the land grant university system.

In 1906, Knapp initiated the county agent plan. To promote the plan, he organized boys’ cotton and corn growing clubs and, in 1910, a girls’ corn and poultry club — the forerunners of today’s 4-H clubs. Knapp’s success as a national leader of the Farm and Home Demonstration System helped bring about the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which resulted in the creation of the Cooperative Extension Service in every state.

As a trusted resource for more than 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension conducts community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine food system, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H.

Contact: Margaret Nagle,