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Delaware Valley University Honors Former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

Oct 06, 2017

Tom Vilsack meets with DelVal students

Credit: Rick Kintzel. Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack meeting with Delaware Valley University students.  

Before receiving Delaware Valley University’s inaugural Krauskopf Medal the evening of Oct. 5, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with DelVal students on campus. Vilsack, who is now the president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, participated in a meet and greet in the University’s library. He talked with students about international issues in agriculture, the decline in the number of American farmers, the future of agriculture and what it was like finding out he would be a member of former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

“I did not expect to be able to meet someone of his status on campus,” said Lauren McCarty ’19, a biology major. “It’s incredible how many opportunities we have at such a small school.” 

McCarty, who is interested in dairy medicine, had the chance to ask Vilsack about the future of the dairy industry. 

Vilsack gave students advice on getting USDA jobs. He suggested that students intern, reach out to elected officials for assistance obtaining work experience, and work their way up from local or regional offices. 

Vilsack also told students about the process he went through to become the secretary of agriculture.  

“Here’s the lesson for all of you who want to be Cabinet secretaries,” Vilsack joked. “You don’t want to be the first person mentioned; you want to be the last person mentioned.”

Vilsack received the Krauskopf Medal, which is named for DelVal’s founder, that evening. Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding nominated Vilsack for the award. To be chosen for the Krauskopf Medal, individuals or organizations must make outstanding contributions in at least one of the following areas: agriculture and food systems, human and civil rights, social justice, child labor, conservation and sustainability, poverty, educational and employment equity, and quality of life issues. 

As Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsack chaired the first-ever White House Rural Council, strengthening services for rural businesses and entrepreneurs by connecting the rural community with investors. Under his leadership, the USDA partnered with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign to improve the health of American children. He helped to pass and implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which enabled the USDA to help combat child hunger and obesity. Vilsack led a comprehensive effort to improve the safety of the U.S. food supply and made civil rights a priority, reaching historic resolutions to cases of discrimination brought against the USDA. 

To learn more about the award, please visit: delval.edu/award.