Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Director traveled to his alma mater Rutgers University recently where he was honored with the Dennis M. Fenton Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award form outstanding achievement in professional and civic endeavors. Established in 2003 this award honors Dennis Fenton, executive vice-president of Amgen Inc., and a strong supporter of graduate education at the School of Environmental and Biological Science, formerly Cook College, and Rutgers University. Successful candidates will have a demonstrated and significant impact in their field of study. The Fenton Award is the highest honor presented by the Cook Alumni Association to advanced degree alumni. Eligible alumni are graduates of Rutgers University’s Graduate School of New Brunswick who earned a Masters or Doctoral degree from a program or department currently or historically associated with the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Cook College, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science or the Rutgers College of Agriculture. McAvoy graduated from Rutgers University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Science in 1974 with a BS Agricultural Science and returned to earn his MS in Horticulture in 1983. Gene is currently a faculty member at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and serves as the Regional Specialized Vegetable Agent IV in SW Florida as well as County Extension Director in Hendry County. McAvoy is currently the Vice President of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. He was Inducted into Syngenta Resistance Fighter Leadership Program – Class of 2015 and has won numerous awards including the Florida Farm Bureau Excellence in Crop Advising Award (2009), the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Achievement Award (2005) and NACAA Distinguished Service Award (2008) as well as the University of Florida Christine Taylor Waddill Professional Enhancement Award (2011), University of Florida Seymour Goldweber Extension Professional Enhancement Award (2008), University of Florida Dallas Townsend Extension Professional Enhancement Award (2005), and the Farm Credit Young Professional Award (2002). Before arriving at the University of Florida in 1997, Gene spent 14 years in West Africa, South Africa and the Caribbean working on various United States Agency for International Development agriculture projects. McAvoy resides in LaBelle with his loving wife Donna on their ranch just south of town.