He was given the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award Saturday at his alma mater in College Station, Texas.
“It was a humbling experience to receive this great honor from the institution that gave me my start and nurtured me as I pursued my education and life goals,” Cheek said. “I am grateful for the investment Texas A&M made in me as a young man and student. I am honored to be recognized as an alumnus and especially for my work in higher education.”
The award, established in 1992, recognizes graduates who distinguish themselves by achieving significant accomplishments in their careers and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character.
Cheek, a 1969 graduate of Texas A&M, was lauded for his mission to make UT a Top 25 public research university, citing record total research expenditures in 2012. Cheek is credited with many new construction and renovation projects across campus, and for his work in founding the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research, a new energy sciences doctoral program.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Texas A&M in 1969, making him the first in his family to attend college. After earning a Master of Education in guidance and counseling from Lamar University in 1972, he returned to Texas A&M to earn his doctorate in interdisciplinary education in 1975.
Cheek also was honored for his 34-year career at the University of Florida, where he was a professor, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Senior Vice President for Agricultural and Natural Resources at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. He helped increase undergraduate enrollment by 120 percent and diversity among the faculty and student body.
Cheek was honored with three other alumni: 1939 graduate Roscoe B. Dooley (posthumously), 1960 graduate Allan A. Marburger, and 1960 graduate Horace F. McQueen.
The award has recognized 65 people over the last 20 years.
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