During graduation ceremonies for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences May 9, State Rep. Richard Royal received the college’s highest honor: the Medallion of Honor for Service.
“Richard Royal was one of the most respected members of Georgia's House of Representatives,” said J. Scott Angle, UGA CAES dean and director. “For the college, he provided expert advice and worked behind the scenes to help our college effectively support Georgia's largest industry - agriculture.”
The medallion is given in recognition of service to the college and the agricultural industry in Georgia.
“It was a great honor" to receive the medallion, Royal said. “I was extremely happy that during my political career, I was in a position to assist the University System of Georgia and especially the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia.”
Royal’s strong legislative voice for agriculture in Georgia has provided outstanding leadership and support for CAES, particularly for the college’s campus in Tifton, Ga., said Joe West, CAES assistant dean in Tifton.
“His support has strengthened our ability to deliver high-quality agricultural programs,” West said. “Support for faculty positions, facilities and his advocacy have helped to ensure that the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will continue to deliver the research and educational programs to further Georgia’s agricultural industry.”
Royal was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1983. He represents the 171st District, which includes Mitchell and Colquitt counties. He served as chairman of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee and chairman of the Property Tax Sub-committee of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Royal also served as a member of the Appropriations and Natural Resources and Environment committees. He was also appointed to the Tobacco Advisory Committee by the Speaker of the House and to the Fiscal Affairs Committee by the Governor.
Royal attended Mitchell County High School and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to his service in the House of Representatives, he served on the Camilla City Council for 10 years.
He received multiple awards and honors for leadership from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association. In 2003, Royal became the first recipient of the Presidential Citation from Georgia Tech.
Royal and his wife, Marilyn, have five children and nine grandchildren. He is a deacon at Pebble City Baptist Church and has been a Sunday school teacher for over 24 years. When not in session, he is a consultant for the petroleum industry.
CAES is one of the oldest colleges of agriculture in the nation and among the top five in the nation for research and extension programs. This year, the college also celebrated its largest student body in history, breaking a record that has stood since 1978.
“It is our mission to support Georgia agriculture through our research programs on campus at our Agricultural Experiment Stations across the state and to delivery that research through UGA Cooperative Extension to producers, families and businesses who need it,” Angle said.
“But our greatest challenge,” he said, “is to attract, educate and graduate the workforce that will support and lead the industry in the future. With strong commitment from state legislators like Richard Royal, we are making large strides toward meeting the employment demands of the industry with highly qualified graduates.”
By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia
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