Don Reid, longtime professor of agronomy at Texas A&M-Commerce, passed away Sept. 15 following a long illness.
“It is with a heavy heart, that I report the passing of my friend and colleague, Don Reid,” said Jim Swart, retired Texas AgriLife Extension specialist and executive director of Cereal Crops Research Incorporated (CCRI).
“Don and I worked closely together for 33 years,” Swart added. “We started working together in 1983, when I arrived in Northeast Texas, and continued even after his retirement in 2004.”
Reid and Swart developed and managed a unique academic opportunity for agriculture students at A&M Commerce through which they combined course work with practical field applications. Course requirements for the crop production practicum included managing a crop from land preparation through marketing. CCRI provided seed money and equipment, and students were allowed to keep any profit above costs at the end of the year.
“Doc made an inestimable contribution to agriculture in Northeast Texas,” Swart said. “Our program would not have existed without him and would never have grown to what it is today without his vision and determination.”
Reid received a PhD in agronomy from Cornell University in 1963. After a short stint with Shell Chemical Company, he went to work as an Extension agronomist at Michigan State University from 1965 to 1975 and then to a similar position at South Dakota State University from 1975 to1981.
Reid came to Texas A&M- Commerce (East Texas State University at the time) in 1981.
“Doc helped many kids achieve their academic and career goals—too many to count,” Swart said. “He is one of the finest people I have ever known.”
In recognition of Reid’s long tenure at Texas A&M-Commerce and his commitment to teaching, friends and colleagues have established a scholarship in his honor at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Contributions to the Don Reid Scholarship may be sent to the Texas A&M University Foundation with “Don Reid Scholarship" in the memo line.
The scholarship operates by awarding most of the interest earned to a deserving student annually without depleting the principal. “The scholarship will be helping students as long as there is a university here,” Swart said. “Doc loved the kids and I can think of nothing he would like more than to continue to help them after he is gone.”
Checks can be mailed to: Don Reid Scholarship, Texas A&M University-Commerce Foundation, P. O. Box 3425, Commerce, Texas 75429.
Over the years, I interviewed Dr. Reid many times regarding the Cooperative Research Project he and Jim Swart managed—a program that involved Extension, research and teaching (through the farm practicum course). Reid was a knowledgeable agronomist, always a compelling interview and a dedicated educator. His sense of humor was legendary. I’ve also interviewed a number of his former students, now working in various capacities in the agriculture industry, and they all credit Reid for much of their success. He will be remembered as loyal friend, a skilled scientist, but mostly as a committed teacher.
Ron Smith, Editor